Mark Cuban is unlike any other owner in sports.
Eight years ago, I met Cuban at a local bar here in Hermosa Beach, California. After a night of beers, he came back to our rinky dink, smelly bachelor pad on the beach, and hung out with myself, and my roommates until three a.m., talking sports, and life.
That night, I remember two very specific conversations (or at least two that I'm willing to share). The first was an argument about who his best player was. I made the case for Steve Nash, while Cuban wouldn't give an inch, insisting that Dirk was easily his most important player.
In hindsight, this is why Mark Cuban owns a team, and I write about guys who own teams...
Well, that and the two billion dollars.
The second discussion I remember was about Pittsburgh, where we both hail from, and the likelihood of him ever making a move to buy our beloved Pirates.
He said it was unlikely.
I wish that weren't the case.
Mark Cuban isn't a stuffy suit like most owners. He's an everyman's man; the kind of guy you can meet at a bar and not see the slightest sign of a man with a billion dollars.
A billion dollars, that sounds like pretend money to guys like me; it's a thousand piles of one million dollars. Marc has two billion, yet you'd never know it. He wears jeans and t-shirts on the sidelines, he cracks jokes, yells at refs, chats with fans, and when he speaks you can still hear some of that Pittsburgh-ese in his voice.
Other than his terrific court-side seats, he's just like every other fan in the building...
Except this fan owns the team.
And he's the best owner in sports.
He treats his players like family, he makes sure they have the best of everything, he lets his coaches coach, and he'll never shy away from spending big money if he thinks it will bring his team great success.
Mark Cuban is the reason why the Dallas Mavericks, a sad franchise before him, are now a perennial contender. Yet, after winning the NBA title, he wanted no credit, no air-time, and no accolades; he passed it all on to his players and coaches.
That night, Mark said it was very unlikely he'd ever buy the Pirates.
Please Mark, reconsider. Our hometown boys need you.
And here's a few other franchises that need you more than the Dallas Mavericks: