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Mark Cuban: What a True Owner Looks Like

Mark Cuban wants you to feel like he is just one of the guys.  He lives and breathes sports.  He is passionate about many different sports.  He runs his mouth when he disagrees with call.  He wears t-shirts and jeans to the game and heckles referees like it's his job.  Yep, Mark Cuban is just like you and me.

Except he is a billionaire who owns the Dallas Mavericks.  But aside from the many, many more zeros he sees in his bank account, at the end of the day, that is all that separates us, the fans, from Cuban, the owner.  The bravado, the opinions, the desire for a championship.  Mark Cuban is the ultimate fan of his team.  And no matter how much money he has, at his core Mark Cuban is just a regular guy who appreciates his team for their entertainment, not what they do for his portfolio.

Cuban catches plenty of criticism for acting this way.  He has been fined over a million dollars by the NBA for criticism over officials.  Many NBA owners consider him reckless, abrasive and dangerous to the league.  He was basically blackballed out of Major League Baseball when he attempted to purchase the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs (but Frank McCourt and Fred Wilpon can each own teams).  The "I'm a regular guy, just like the fans," attitude that Cuban holds threatens the status of wealthy owners across the board.  Professional sports owners do not want to feel like their fans.  They supply the fans with entertainment and treat their team like a business.

But at the end of the day, there are already too many Donald Sterling's, Michael Heisley's, and Maloof brothers in the NBA alone.  Too many owners watch their games from their suites, seemingly disinterested and disengaged from the team.  Cuban sits behind the bench or behind the basket at every Mavericks game.  During the tough economic times, NBA owners pinch pennies throughout the organization.  Mark Cuban invests over $80 million in remodels and a new, high-definition replay screen for fans.

I challenge you to name one other owner who willingly accepts fine after fine for comments about officiating like Cuban does.  The man spends millions of dollars every year on the team, and then continues to take it on the chin from the league as he defends his players, organization, and ultimately, his fans.

Mark Cuban once ordered the people in charge of the jumbo screens to replay an egregiously blown call by the referees.  He didn't ask them to replay it once.  He told them to put it on a loop as fans left the stadium after the Mavericks lost.  That little stunt cost him over $100,000.  But if he were the owner of my team, I would be proud to say it because of actions like these.

Cuban gets the last laugh.  He has owned the Dallas Mavericks for eleven years and finally won an NBA championship.  While most owners would take this opportunity to have the city honor them, he wants to pay for the entire parade himself, so that the city doesn't have to.  If there were more Mark Cuban's, sports would mean more than they do to many cities.  Fans would see more competitive leagues, because owners would have less concern for the bottom line and more concern for winning.

Let Cuban run his mouth and say what he wants.  After winning a NBA championship, he deserves it.  He's just a passionate fan who happens to own the team, rather than simply root for it.


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