Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, has defended comments he made about race during a business conference to address the controversy over banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The billionaire Mavericks owner came under fire for describing a "black kid in a hoodie" in a prerecorded interview shown on Wednesday at the GrowCo convention hosted by Inc magazine.
Many took to Twitter and claimed his “hoodie” remark was made in reference to the 2012 shooting of unarmed, black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he was fatally shot by George Zimmerman.
In the interview, which was posted on the internet, Cuban said: "If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it's late at night, I'm walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there's a guy that has tattoos all over his face - white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere - I'm walking back to the other side of the street."
"In hindsight I should have used different examples. I didn't consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that," he later wrote on Twitter.
However, he refused to apologise directly for his comments, adding: "Beyond apologising to the Martin family, I stand by the words and the substance of the interview.
"I think that helping people improve their lives, helping people engage with people they may fear or not understand, and helping people realize that while we all may have our prejudices and bigotries, we have to learn that it's an issue that we have to control. That it's part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it?"
Fellow NBA owner Sterling was banned for life from the sport and fined $2.5 million (£1.5 million) after an audio recording emerged on the gossip website TMZ of him arguing with his girlfriend, 20-something model V Stiviano, about her posting a picture on Instagram posing with Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson.
He then sparked further uproar when he claimed Johnson “should be ashamed of himself” for having HIV during his first interview with CNN after the scandal broke.