Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has always been one to think outside the box. His team was one of the first to embrace cyrotherapy and the Mavericks have had a team psychologist for years.
“We’ve had a team psychologist that travels with the team,” Cuban told The Musers on KTCK-1310 AM, via the Dallas Morning News. ”I don’t know if we were the first. But we’re the only team that has a full-time psychologist that travels with the team and sits behind the bench because what I learned early on was guys all think that if they play 48 minutes, they’ll be Michael Jordan or Dirk Nowitzki. Coaches are not ever going to be purely honest and deal with their issues through coaches. As much as we like to think old school, you talk to your coach, you sit down, your coach is your counselor and your mentor, that’s hard to do in the NBA because there is so much at stake for any one player. If you play 10 minutes per game vs. 25 minutes per game, that’s millions of dollars. By having a team psychologist, you have an outlet of somebody to talk to. It also allows me to say, what’s going on with this guy? Don’t give me the details, but go talk to him or say we have to set up a development program for this guy for what it takes to be a professional if it’s a rookie. It’s also gives us comfort to go out and take a chance on a guy that might not otherwise have a stellar reputation because he’ll have somebody to work with.”
As far as Cuban is aware, no other NBA team has a psychologist. Cuban also said that listening to then head coach Avery Johnson, who wanted the psychologist gone, played a role in them losing to the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals.
“None that I’m aware of. Some will have a psychologist that’s available on call, but none will have it full-time. He’s got like a 7-year contract. I think one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made since I bought the Mavs was Avery didn’t want him there, and we let him go. I think that impacted 2006. He wanted that control. It was more of a control thing.”