We wish all NBA owners were like the Dallas Mavericks’ Mark Cuban. In an extremely candid interview with Rolling Stone, the 56 year-old billionaire touches on the “smart effort” of Dirk Nowitzki, his biggest personnel regret with the Mavs, and what would surprise outsiders about his lavish lifestyle.
Cuban’s love for Nowitzki and vice versa is well-documented. You don’t get a player like Dirk to make the biggest financial sacrifice in league history by underappreciating him, after all. But what makes the future Hall-of-Famer so great? Cuban says it’s not only Nowitzki’s effort, but the foresight behind it, too.
What helped make Dirk special is not just how hard he worked, but how smart he worked. He didn’t just put in the hours, he had a plan for those hours and he knew just wanted he wanted to accomplish with them. That allowed him to not only become the great shooter that he is, but also to become a student of the game and to add something new to his game almost every year.
Without question, Dirk works as hard as anyone we’ve ever had…
Of the most contentious decisions Cuban has made as Dallas owner is electing to let Steve Nash sign with the Phoenix Suns in 2004. At the time, he defended not matching Phoenix’s five-year, $65 million offer to Nash by saying that a such a commitment was too long and rich for a 30 year-old point guard. Nash went on to win two MVPs as a Sun and establish himself as one of the most influential offensive players in league history.
A decade later, does Cuban regret letting Nash walk? Of course.
Q: What’s the worst move you’ve made as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks?
A: Letting Steve Nash go. I learned an expensive lesson. It took me too many years to realize that for some GMs, their number-one job wasn’t winning a championship, it’s keeping their job. It’s easy to look back and see my mistakes today. I wish I would have been smart enough to know better back then. I loved taking risks to win. Unfortunately some of them were not as educated as they should have been.
Asked why the NFL’s string of player violence is longer than the NBA’s, Cuban stressed that all professional sports leagues need to exercise more diligence and responsibility while assessing their amateur prospects. But Dallas has employed players that have had brushes with the law. Former guard DeShawn Stevenson, for instance, was arrested public intoxication two days after his Mavericks won the 2011 NBA championship.
That didn’t exactly bother notorious party boy Cuban, though.
I loved D-Steve and never had a problem and didn’t anticipate one. As far his arrest, it was for public intoxication. He wasn’t driving. He was wandering. Or wobbling, I guess. As long as you aren’t driving or in a position to inflict harm on someone, and over the age of 21, feel free to get as fucked-up as you please after you win a championship. I know I did.
And then there’s this. Classic Cuban. Sounds about right, too:
Q: What would surprise people about being a billionaire?
A: Nothing. It’s fucking amazing and off the charts.
What do you think?
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