UPDATE: Deadspin has video of the encounter (sort of).
The 30-29 Sixers are on a four-game winning streak (and 7-3 in their last 10 games). They're above the .500 mark for the first time this season. And they'll face a true test tonight when they take on the Dallas Mavericks at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Mavs (43-16) have the third best record in the league, and they certainly portray themselves to be a much tougher obstacle than the Rockets, Wizards, Pistons, and Cavaliers… the four teams the Sixers beat to compile their latest winning streak.
However, this may not be the only attraction you can see at WFC tonight. Controversial Mavs owner Mark Cuban and the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, author of "Friday Night Lights", and current Daily Beast blogger Buzz Bissinger (say that 10 times fast) could square off courtside, after a war of words over Twitter saw the two have quite the exchange. Both men will be present at tonight's game, and there's no way to predict what will happen.
Find out how the whole mess started after the jump.
The conflict stemmed over a piece Bissinger wrote called "NBA All-Star Game: White Men Can't Root". One of Bissinger's arguing points included the idea that some of the decline in NBA popularity was due in part to the decreasing number of white athletes playing in the game, which consequently affected the number of white fans.
In particular, Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram guesses that the following excerpt was what led Cuban to go on the attack against Bissinger.
"Are whites losing interest in a game in which the number of white American players not only continues to dwindle, but no longer features a superstar?" Bissinger asked in his article. "Yes."
It should be noted, at this juncture, that Mark Cuban is white and could be the most over-publiciized and annoying male cheerleader the NBA ever seen. It's no shock that he found this (ten days later) and felt the need to say something. His tweet to Bissinger said, "Yr editor asked you to write about a topic you don't know & had no interest in researching."
Bissinger contested that he did indeed research the topic. Regardless, the exchange continued and escalated to the point where Cuban called Bissinger a coward. That's where Bissinger lost it, going on a Tweet tirade, not atypical of the outspoken writer:
Do I have thin skin? The thinnest. I know that. I try to resist it. But calling me coward a joke. Call me ignorant, full of shit. Fine.
Then Bissinger sent the challenge:
Be at Mavs' game Tuesday in Philly. Let's meet. Talk face to face. None of this coward bs.
In fact, this is how I saw it happen in my head. Every time the Warrior says "Hulk Hogan", just replace it with "Mark Cuban"… awesome:
Sorry… I had to. Anyway, Bissinger asked Cuban to obtain him a press pass, and Cuban told him to contact the Sixers. After some more verbal jabbing, Bissinger wrote to Cuban that he did "obtain press press. i will see you at game Tuesday night."
I will assume that a "press press" is a whole lot like a "press pass". Buzz Bissinger really speaks his own language half the time. What a mess this is.
I'm okay with Twitter wars and wars of words in general, but if these two are going to put on some display during the game… that part, to me, isn't cool.
It's the risk that is often involved with two attention whores. That's why situations like this come up in the first place. If what I said wasn't true, then one of these "adults" would have put this thing to bed long before tonight's game… or they would have handles the matter privately. But you didn't think that was going to happen, did you?
I partially can understand Bissinger defending himself, but Mark Cuban didn't really need to address Bissinger's column in the first place. At no point did Bissinger directly refer to Mark Cuban, as much of his piece was more general than it was specific. But we're talking about a guy who goes after other owners unprovoked and has even gone out of his way to offend an NBA player's mother.
A class act is coming to Philly tonight, folks. Two of them, in fact. So let's just hope that they don't take away from the game and a surging Sixers team that is slowly winning back the long-lost affection of the Philadelphia fan base once again.