Mark Cuban and the 5 Craziest Owners in the NBA
As sports fans, we put our trust in our favorite teams' owners to build a winning team. The problem is that some owners are just a bit more wild than we would like. They seem to have a better knack for making outlandish statements than they do for business decisions.
Take Mark Cuban, for example. After making billions in the dot-com boom, he purchased the Dallas Mavericks, and through his hyperactive, almost fan-first/owner-second nature, has turned the team into a perennial playoff team. The man is insane, but that's why we love him so much.
However, not all crazy NBA owners are the good kind.
Let's have a look at some of his craziest fellow team chiefs.
Honorable Mention: Dan Gilbert
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The Quicken Loans chairman took over the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005 and was largely responsible for the team becoming as unbelievably successful as it was with LeBron James as the star. Just two years after Gilbert assumed ownership, the Cavs made their first and only NBA Finals appearance, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
Today, however, Gilbert seems to be best remembered for his actions following James' infamous "The Decision."
After the announcement, Gilbert posted an open letter to Cavaliers fans on the team's website blasting James and his departure, even going so far as to promise that Cleveland would win a championship before its former star did. I think we all know how that went down.
For writing the letter and basically sounding like a jilted lover, Gilbert was fined $100,000 by NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Yet, in his entire tenure as owner, this is the only truly brash action Gilbert has ever done. He could definitely be considered an impulsive owner but not so much a crazy one, despite what attitude may have gone into writing that letter.
No. 5: Mikhail Prokhorov
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Prokhorov may seem crazy to some, but he might seem brilliant to others. Ever since taking control of the New Jersey Nets in 2010, he has been determined from the get-go to make the team a winner as they prepared to move to Brooklyn.
In 2011, he made headlines when he sent point guard Devin Harris, struggling rookie Derrick Favors and draft picks to the Utah Jazz in exchange for star point man Deron Williams, who had fallen out of favor in Utah, according to Brian Henderson of ESPN affiliate Salt City Hoops.
Yes, it was a good trade, but it was certainly unconventional to give up on Favors so quickly. He had been taken with the third overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Last year, Prokhorov kept right up with the trading of draft picks as he dealt the Nets' 2012 first-round selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gerald Wallace, and then he sent the 2013 pick to the Atlanta Hawks in a package for shooting guard Joe Johnson.
Sure, he's putting together a winning team for the Nets' first season in Brooklyn, but shouldn't he be saving those draft picks to build up a young base who could eventually become stars of the team?
Yes, the man clearly has a good business sense, but his decision-making skills are just, well, crazy.
No. 4: Mark Cuban
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Cuban may be an owner, but he acts more like a fan. For as long as I can remember him owning the Dallas Mavericks, he has been sitting courtside, cheering on his team with gusto.
Like most fans, Cuban has also had an issue keeping his mouth shut when necessary. He has thus ended up in the league doghouse multiple times.
From booing a former Dallas player to the fact that he's probably made an Olympic sport of being fined by the NBA, this is the man whose picture you would see if you looked up "brash professional sports franchise owner" in the dictionary.
Still, while Cuban is definitely a nut job, he's still probably every NBA fan's favorite hyperactive psycho.
No. 3: Donald Sterling
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Since acquiring the Los Angeles Clippers in 1981, the way that real estate tycoon Donald Sterling has managed the team has been highly questionable.
While most owners would do everything possible to build a winning team, Sterling seems to use the Clippers more as a tax write-off than as an opportunity to turn a high profit. He has shown more willingness to spend in recent years though, given Blake Griffin's contract extension.
Sterling's crazy label comes from the fact that he once heckled his own player in former Clippers point man Baron Davis. I can understand why some owners would feel frustrated about high-salaried players underachieving, but to flat-out heckle them?
That's just childish.
No. 2: James Dolan
As a Knicks fan, I could probably write 100 pages or more about why James Dolan is one of the craziest owners in the NBA. But time is a factor here, so I'll keep it short.
First off, the man has no sense of communication with his fans. Every time the fans seem to be happy or want something that could truly benefit the team, he goes off and does the exact opposite.
For example, instead of trying to work a sign-and-trade deal to acquire a top forward in Chris Webber, one summer, Dolan went and signed streaky scorer Allan Houston to a ridiculous contract that gave birth to the current amnesty clause (or "Allan Houston Rule").
On top of that, Dolan has no idea how to separate his business relationships from his personal ones. The fact that he chose not to match Jeremy Lin's offer sheet from Houston because he felt "betrayed" (according to sources, as reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News) is just plain ridiculous, as was his decision to trade four starters for Carmelo Anthony.
Worst of all, he still consults with former Knicks GM and coach Isiah Thomas on basketball decisions, according to Isola, even though Thomas infamously ran the team into the ground while at the helm.
Oh, and he also plays in an awful jazz band. Watch the video.
No. 1: Paul Allen
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A co-founder of Microsoft, Allen owns the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers. Though his ownership has had its ups and downs since he purchased the team in 1988, the front office turnover the past few years suggests that he may be a bit of a tough boss.
You see, current Portland GM Neil Olshey is the team's seventh since 2003. If you ask me, that proves that Allen is both impatient and probably hard to work for. Given his rumored behavior during labor negotiations during the recent NBA lockout (according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports), I think that's all the evidence we need to prove that he's one crazy man.
Still, he's a business genius and clearly has a high standard as to what he wants when it comes to his investments.