Why Do Team Owners Raise the Championship Trophy First?

Even Mark Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks, believes the athletes deserve more of the spotlight in these moments. Cuban raised the trophy when the team won the title in 2011, but said in a recent interview that he was eager to get it to Dirk Nowitzki, the Most Valuable Player of those finals, because he knew Nowitzki’s moment of joy would be the lasting image of the season.

“I wanted that moment to belong to the players,” Cuban said. “And as it turned out, Dirk holding the trophy over his head has been iconic. No chance that happens if it’s my ugly mug holding it up there.”

(Cuban did tweet at dawn the day after the title was clinched that the trophy was with him in bed.)

The displays, then, are seen as buzz-kills, impeding the emotional flow to celebrate the influence of money.

At the very least, they feel like bad television.

“I don’t think it’s as joyful a moment as it could be for the players,” said Julian Gressel, a midfielder for the U.S. men’s soccer team. He had to wait for Arthur Blank, the co-founder of Home Depot, to raise the M.L.S. trophy (Blank even got his own confetti cannon shower) when Atlanta United won the title in 2018.

Gressel, who was born in Germany and now plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps in M.L.S., noted how much more straightforward and satisfying these presentations are in European soccer: The squad congregates around the trophy. The captain picks it up. The players and fans all go nuts.

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