The unlikely rise of the NBA’s most outspoken owner

I spent the day cleaning my basement. That’s not a euphemism for anything cool. I literally spent the day moving things around, throwing things into the garbage that I remember wanting but not remembering why, sweeping, and battling sticky cobwebs that predate Watergate. The whole time I just kept thinking about Mark Cuban.

Mark Cuban probably doesn’t have to clean up his basement. I imagined his basement looking more like a palatial mansion rather than the dungeon that’s at the bottom of my house. I wonder if he has to do his own laundry and if he discusses using Tide or Tide Sport for his three kids’ outdoor clothes with his wife.

But you, know he might. Mark Cuban isn’t your typical billionaire. He is the true definition of self-made. There are plenty of “self-made” billionaires out there that started with a forty million dollar inheritance. Not a bad start to the billionaire game. That isn’t Mark. His father wasn’t a millionaire, or famous, or a mogul of any kind. His dad was an automobile upholsterer and someone that Mark always looked up to.

“My dad says it over and over, ‘Today’s the youngest you’re ever going to be. You’ve got to live like it. You’ve got to live young every day.’ And that’s what I try to do.”

Mark Cuban

Mark Growing Up

Mark grew up in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, a town known for its blue collar steel mills and putting French fries on sandwiches. He was industrious at a young age; his first business was selling garbage bags door to door in his neighborhood. By sixteen he was running newspapers to Cleveland. By the time he was in college he owned his own bar.

He never looked back. In the early 1980s, he started Microsolutions, a strong proponent of early technologies, in Dallas, Texas. Only a few years later he sold the company for $6 million and he was officially a millionaire by age 32. Being a voracious businessman and sports fan, he started, an internet radio company and just a few years later it was acquired by Yahoo! for $5.7 billion. Mark Cuban was officially on the Forbes List as a billionaire before 2000.

He has said he celebrated smoking a cigar in his undies.  I believe him.

The Mark Cuban We All know

We all know him as the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He’s been fined more times than he can remember for being outspoken by the NBA. We know him as the funny and oftentimes painfully true judge of the hit show “Shark Tank”. He is an investor and part owner in plenty of businesses, including 2929 Entertainment.

His filter-less loquaciousness has hid nothing when it comes to our current president. He recently called him an idiot among other things and said that he wouldn’t rule out running for president himself in 2020 while on CNN with Jake Tapper. His blog and Twitter timeline are filled with politically charged comments, fixes, ideas, and genuine opines. He has said the Trump has opened up the presidency to billionaire businessmen instead of career politicians.

He is an educated and progressive thinking sports nut who has been able to generate and see through some incredible ideas. Through it all, he has maintained a level of decency, inclusiveness, and humility that is unusual for someone as wildly successful.


There are plenty of times I’m arrogant but I always try to treat people the way I’d want to be treated and never think, ‘I’m better than you.’ Because your bank account doesn’t define you — at least mine doesn’t define me.

Mark Cuban

Cuban’s values might not have much to do with his bank account, but his Mavericks are still worth $1.4 billion, making them the NBA’s 9th most valuable franchise. Only 5 NBA teams make the list of the 30 most valuable sports franchises, can you name them all?

The 30 most valuable sports franchises:

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