Cuban, the owner of the 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, joined Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and host Jay Crawford on Friday's episode of "First Take" on ESPN. For those unfamiliar, the show's talking heads debate the hottest topics in sports every weekday morning.
Cuban and Bayless' beef started Tuesday, when Bayless caught wind of Cuban's criticism for the morning show debater.
"I'm told @mcuban taking Twitter shots at me," Bayless tweeted. "Mark, you're welcome to come debate me face to face in Bristol, unless you're afraid."
Cuban, never afraid of a challenge, responded quickly.
"And what specifically would you want to debate Skip ? Who can offer the best woulda, coulda, shouldas ?" the owner tweeted.
With that, the stage was set. Cuban agreed to join the crew Friday and immediately took aim at Bayless. He accused Bayless of speaking only in generalities and never using facts, a statement Bayless denied. But when Bayless said Miami won Thursday because they played harder, Cuban blasted the journalist.
"That is the most ridiculous thing any sportswriter has ever said," Cuban said.
That exchange sparked a revisiting of last year's NBA Finals, a series won by Cuban's Mavericks against LeBron's Heat. Rather than give credit to the Dallas defense, Bayless attributed Miami's loss to the disappearance of James in clutch situations. To no surprise, Cuban was not happy with that assertion.
"So we get no credit for not putting him in a position to succeed?" Cuban questioned.
When Bayless said that all he saw was James standing on the perimeter, meaning the Mavericks didn't have to defend him, Cuban again fired back.
"That's exactly right, Skip. That's all you saw. You didn't look," Cuban retorted, before reeling off a list of the Mavericks defensive schemes and how they game-planned to stop the Heat superstar.
The whole exchange lasted just over six minutes and can be seen below. Smith, Bayless' boisterous counterpart, stayed completely out of the discussion, a surprising move by the talkative journalist.
It's no doubt been a tough day for Bayless, an outspoken critic of James seemingly since the megastar entered the NBA. Bayless has been critical of LeBron's play in clutch situations, questioning whether he had the desire to win the big game. But with James and the Heat now world champions, Bayless has been forced to eat crow.
And Cuban was clearly willing to serve it up -- to the amusement of thousands of fans who have always wanted Bayless to take one on the chin.
Even after the debate, Bayless took to Twitter, still trying to cover his position.
"Was my critcism of LeBron unfair? NO. For 7 yrs I made valid, constructive pts about what he SHOULD do. As in: You're better than that, LBJ!" he tweeted.
Video Source: YouTube (ESPN)
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons