Wednesday night, as the Denver Nuggets suited up in the opposing locker room, Mark Cuban assured his Dallas Mavericks that there was a 5% chance — 10% at most — of the NBA suspending its season as a COVID-19 precaution.
“I didn’t think it was a likely outcome, and then when it happened, I was like ‘wow.’ I honestly was stunned,” he told CNBC.
At the start of the third quarter, Cuban learned that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19, and the NBA had called off the remainder of the season.
Cuban is unsure of how long the suspension will last, whether it’s 30 days, 60 days or longer.
“This is the ultimate definition of a black swan event, and whatever we suppose is just a guess,” Cuban told CNBC. “…The owners will decide, but I think effectively we’re going to see what the science tells us.”
He said they would learn from the spread of the virus across different communities and “try to be agile and act accordingly.” The Mavericks’ insurance plan does not cover business disruptions under the current conditions, but the Mavericks will continue with practice and team activities and Cuban will do what he can to support local businesses and low-wage earners dependent on NBA activity.
Mark Cuban reacts moments after the NBA season was suspended. pic.twitter.com/4g8Z7yLts6
— ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2020
“In terms of cascading effects, we had already been discussing how to deal with support with our hourly workers, because obviously, if they’re not going to have games or events, they’re stuck,” he said. “We’ll put together a program for them, but downstream, in terms of vendors and small businesses in the area and what happens from there, this is new territory for all of us, so it’s hard to predict.”