By: Jacob Walters
Before the Mavericks entered the new millennium, they were entering a phase of
irrelevance. Various misfortunes that include missing out on Shaquille O’Neal in the 1992 NBA Draft (they picked Jim Jackson with the fourth overall pick). Granted, they had a young stud named Dirk Nowitzki and his partner-in-crime Steve Nash. However, that wasn’t going to winthem a championship anytime soon. Therefore, the Mavericks stayed irrelevant. Then came the man that changed their fortunes forever. He was an owner who was also a fan of the team and stayed true to his humble ways. He was a man whose parents told him “to spend as much time as possible with no one else around.” His name is Mark Cuban.
Born on July 31, 1958 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cuban started his own company,
MicroSolutions, with previous customers from Your Business Software, a company he
previously worked at. Cuban sold the company to CompuServe in 1990 for $6 million and joined Audionet five years later. Cuban is also known as one of the investors on ABC’s Shark Tank, investing in various start-ups. Currently, Cuban is the owner of Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures, the Dallas Mavericks, and is the chairman of AXS TV. Cuban is hailed as one of the smartest businessmen and entrepreneurs in America, even owning a billion dollars in Amazon stock. Cuban bought the Mavericks in 2000 from Ross Perot Jr., leading Dallas to two NBA Finals appearances, including an NBA title over LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2011.
When it comes to running an NBA team, Cuban has an interesting approach to it. He
prefers the “Moneyball” method, a wildly popular method in MLB that has produced prominent teams such as the Oakland Athletics, the Boston Red Sox, and the Chicago Cubs (the latter two have gone on to win World Series titles). This strategy focuses more on undervalued players without making splashy moves in free agency, which is unorthodox in the NBA. Along the way, Cuban got the excellent outside shooter in Jason Terry in 2004 and legendary point guard Jason Kidd in 2008 (a second go-round with Dallas) to go with Dirk Nowitzki. Both additions were factors in that 2011 title run. While Cuban hasn’t been the best at getting free agents, his bread and butter has been trades (thus, the Moneyball comparison). That efficiency has led to a record of 971-564 and a winning percentage of .632. Cuban’s Mavericks have also missed the playoffs just four times during his tenure, including 12 straight playoff seasons. Those are achievements the size of Texas.
A perfect example of Cuban’s trade work has been the 2017 & 2018 NBA Drafts. In
2017, the Mavericks selected Dennis Smith Jr., who they swapped with the New York Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis. A year later, the Mavs drafted Trae Young, who they traded with the Atlanta Hawks for… Luka Doncic! The 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year made the All-NBA First Team this season and was an All-Star as well. Doncic has also averaged 24.7 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 7.3 APG in his two seasons with the Mavericks. With Doncic, the Mavericks have a bright future ahead of them.
Cuban’s success doesn’t just show on the basketball court. Cuban supports countless
charities, including Autism Speaks, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, Cedars-Sinai Medical
Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the Humane Society, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. In 2018, Cuban donated a Wrestlemania 35 package that included a suite for 10 people at Wrestlemania 35, a photo shoot with a WWE Superstar, and two tickets to SummerSlam 2018, Survivor Series 2018, Royal Rumble 2019, and Wrestlemania 35. Cuban’s even gotten to be a guest host on Monday Night RAW! Mark out!
That’s not the only cool thing he’s done with his philanthropy. Cuban established the
Mark Cuban Foundation and the Fallen Patriot Fund. The Fallen Patriot Fund of the Mark Cuban Foundation was established to help families of U.S. military personnel who were killed or seriously injured during combat in Iraq. When the Mavericks were embroiled in a sexual
misconduct scandal in the workplace, Cuban apologized for the matter and donated $10 million in help promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence. Cuban has also donated $500,000 to help combat the coronavirus. The Mavericks owner even prefers to do philanthropy anonymously, with a perfect example being a couple dealing with cancer receiving money for their wedding. You don’t see many sports owners doing anonymous philanthropy and managing a Dairy Queen for a day, giving a blizzard to Warren Buffett!
Not many fans are afforded the luxury of having a sports owner that acts like a regular
person while getting slammed through a table by Sheamus or pick up one of their former players off the streets and help get his life on track (Delonte West). There aren’t even that many sports fans that have the luxury of a sports owner who’s also a fan of their team as well. For Mavericks fans, they are blessed to have Mark Cuban as their owner through his various philanthropic efforts and establishing a winning culture unique to the NBA landscape. If you want to look for the best owner in all of sports, look no further than Mark Cuban.