"A real Animal House": Inside the corrosive workplace culture of the Dallas Mavericks

The employee was startled but not entirely surprised. When she first accepted her job with the Mavericks in 2010, she’d shared the news with her local Dallas women’s running group. Instead of congrats, she recalls, she received warnings. “Watch out for the president,” one friend said. “Whatever you do, don’t get trapped in an elevator with him.”

When the woman recounted the dining room exchange to female colleagues at the Mavs, they too were something other than shocked. One shared that Ussery had repeatedly propositioned her for sex, even offering to leave his marriage if the woman relented—an account the second woman confirmed to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for this story. Another woman shared that Ussery’s inappropriate behavior was one of the reasons she was quitting her sales job after more than a decade. (Reached by SI, that woman declined comment, but records confirm that her employment with the Mavericks ended at a time consistent with the chronology of this account.)

“It was a real life Animal House,” says one former organization employee who left recently after spending roughly five years with the Mavs. “And I only say ‘was’ because I’m not there anymore. I’m sure it’s still going on.”