Like the rest of the NBA world, I became a huge Mavericks bandwagon fan. Heck, I could have been the conductor. In just two weeks I saw Dirk as the next Larry Bird, JJ Barea as John Stockton’s shadow, and Rick Carlisle turn in to Phil Jackson. Now that reality has set in and those thoughts have vanished, there is one figure that my opinion will never change about.
We may have not cared less about the Mavs in the past couple years, but there has always been a man on the sidelines that we always noticed. We always heard about the owner that kept getting fined for his statements against referees. We always hear about him, but not a lot of people know that Mark Cuban is one of the greatest owners that a fan could ever dream of. Oh yeah, I just went there.
Think about your team’s owner. Can’t put a face to his name? Exactly, because some owners don’t even bother to show up to the game sometimes, let alone in the style that Cuban does. Odds are you can find your millionaire owner in a luxury box, sporting a three piece suit, thumbing through the Wall Street Journal and sipping on his $50 mixed drink. Cuban is pretty much the opposite. “Cubes” blends in with the fans, rocking his Mavericks t-shirt and shouting at his players and the refs like it's Game 7 of the NBA Finals when it’s only December.
OK, now that I mentioned screaming at fans and refs, it’s time to bring up his controversial side. Cuban is anything but a Trappists monk when it comes to his thoughts about the game, but that’s exactly what fans are missing sometimes. I wouldn’t want to hear every owner speak about the game every night, because some of them look more boring than Ben Stein in a knitting contest. Cuban, as most of us know, bring that outspoken personality to the newspapers and talk shows and tells it how it is.
Way too many times we see coaches and players clam up after a terribly officiated game, and that’s where Cuban comes in with his two cents. After he accused referee Ed Rush of not being able “to manage a Dairy Queen,” the ice cream chain took offense to that and invited him out to manage a Dairy Queen for a day. Instead of turning a cold shoulder to the cold treats company, Cuban willingly accepted the invite and managed a jam-packed Dairy Queen.
Cuban doesn’t only accept challenges following his harsh and sometimes honest comments, he also puts his heart in a good place when the fine comes down. Cuban matches every single fine issued by the NBA with a donation to a charity, totaling more than $1.5 million. Now that doesn’t exactly make him a saint, but we see that Cuban turns his wrongdoings into blessings for many others.
Cuban gives fans great comments and an owner that cares about the game, but what about his players? When big man Dirk Nowitzki won the 2006-2007 MVP award, the Mavs owner was called out for tearing up during a press conference. Cuban also has thrown out some costly comments and blog posts protecting his players from refs and dirty players. To me and many others, that doesn’t show a need for attention, that shows a great deal of loyalty to his players. Instead of seeing his players as dollar signs, he sees them as friends and teammates.
After taking home the Larry O’ Brien trophy, Cuban tweeted “how amazing was it that dirk, brian cardinal and ian mahini planned to all sign with the Mavs this summer !!” To a lot of people, Brian Cardinal and Ian Mahini are just two mediocre players, but Cuban makes them seem and feel like they are pivotal championship players that can make or break a franchise.
Through thick and thin Cuban has had all of his fans, players and coaches backs, and that is one reason why he is an excellent owner. Becoming a visible owner, keeping it real and having an immense amount of devotion for his players makes Cuban one of the greatest owners a fan base could even ask for.