League officials said the fine stemmed from “public criticism and detrimental conduct regarding NBA officiating.” The incident occurred on Feb. 22, when an irate Cuban confronted officials on the court for allowing a critical contested basket late in the Mavericks’ loss to the Atlanta Hawks that night.
“It is a recognized part of sports for fans and the media at times to criticize officiating, but team executives must be held to a higher standard,” the NBA said in a statement. “A team owner’s effort to influence refereeing decisions during and after a game creates the perception of an unfair competitive advantage and thereby undermines the integrity of the game. Demeaning league employees also creates an intimidating workplace environment.”
Cuban has paid out more than $3 million in fines during his stint as Mavericks owner. He has been fined at least $500,000 on three separate occasions, including once in 2002 for criticizing officials.
The tech billionaire paid a $600,000 fine in 2018 after he said that the practice of “tanking,” or losing games in order to secure high draft picks, was his team’s “best option” at the time.
Additionally, he agreed to pay $10 million to charity in 2018 as part of a settlement with the NBA following an investigation into workplace misconduct involving Mavericks employees. Cuban was not personally implicated.
Aside from the fine, the NBA denied the Mavericks’ protest of the officiating call from the Feb. 22 game. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ruled that the call the crew made on the court was properly applied.
"Refs have bad games," Cuban tweeted on Feb. 22 following the loss. "Crews have bad games. But this isn't a single game issue. This is the same [expletive] that has been going on for 20 years. Hire former refs who think they know how to hire, train and manage. Realize 2 years later they can't. Repeat."
Cuban has an estimated net worth of $4.3 billion, according to Forbes.