Mark Cuban: Another Side

Most NBA owners are your typical everyday-businessmen, usually very conservative with their money, but yet they sip on $5 coffees from Starbucks six days out of the week. They also sit in a luxury box during home games and occasionally will make the trip to away games. They are laid-back at games, rarely showing any emotion almost stoic, acting like they don’t care whether their team wins or loses. Dallas Mavericks‘ owner Mark Cuban is not like most owners. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Cuban is the most interactive, hands-on owner in all of sports.

Like most owners, Cuban made his first dollars elsewhere. He and a college buddy started AudioNet, an online way to view sporting events. AudioNet became and began to grown exponentially. It made nearly $13.5 million in revenue in the second quarter. Cuban sold to Yahoo! for $5.9 billion in stock in 1999. In January of 2000, Cuban purchased the majority of ownership stock from previous Mavericks majority owner, Ross Perot who is now a minority leader, for nearly $280 million.

Before Cuban took ownership, the Mavericks had a career winning percentage of .400 and never made it to the NBA Finals. Since Cuban has taken over, the Mavericks have won 69% of their games and made two NBA Finals appearances, winning one (2011) and losing one (2006). He also helped the Mavericks get a new arena in 2001 (American Airlines Arena).

Cuban reminds me of that one friend everyone has: a bachelor. The guy who has money, has a kick-ass job, and doesn’t want to settle down any time soon. His publicly displayed care-free attitude hasn’t been enjoyed by everyone, especially NBA officials and Commissioner David Stern. Cuban has spoken out about officiating and the league over his 12 years, so much that the league has fined him nearly $1.4 million dollars. There is something nice about him, though. He matches each fine with a donation to a charity of his choice.

Actually, there are a few other things about him that I find refreshing.

Like I said earlier, he isn’t your typical owner. He sits two rows up on the baseline, near the Mavericks bench, during home games, and right behind the bench during road games. He wears T-shirts and jerseys with jeans, occasionally throwing in a collared-shirt every once in a while. You wouldn’t catch him dead at a Starbucks sipping a latte, but rather at the local Shell gas station buying a Monster energy drink. He started a “booing campaign” when former Maverick Michael Finley came back in the playoffs as a member of the hated San Antonio Spurs and he told Kenyon Martin‘s mother that her son was a “thug.” Finally, he said the league manager of officials, Ed Rush, couldn’t even run a Dairy Queen. Cuban could care-less about losing money over pity fines. The man is worth $2.3 billion, so what’s the big deal if he loses $10, $15, $25, or $50,000 because he was pissed at the officials? Cuban acts like a little kid most of the time: joyous when he wins, but sore when he loses.

People have despised of Cuban because he is out-spoken, brash, out of line, and that he “babies” his players. But that’s just his personality. Inside, every sports owner wants to experience success at the highest level, otherwise why would they go through the trouble of purchasing and owning a team?

Most owners follow the motto “Don’t get too high and don’t get too low. Stay level and steady.”

Cuban follows the motto “Money over bitches.” Sorry, but it’s the truth.

According to Forbes, the Mavericks are worth an estimated $438 million. That’s up 56% since Cuban bought the team 12 years ago.

Cuban is more of a fan than an owner.

You can always take the man out of the kid but you can never take the kid out of the man.


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