10th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution!

I can’t speak for many other towns, but it seems like the owners of sports teams in Dallas are particularly idiosyncratic. It takes a strange person to buy a sports team. But I think that Mark Cuban’s M.O. for owning the Mavericks might be the most sane. He doesn’t make money on one of the most successful teams in the NBA because he doesn’t consider it his job. He’s kind of like some friends of mine are about bicycles. They don’t work on them for a living, but enjoy working on them and riding them and helping others work on them. They might make some money here and there selling a rebuilt bike, but that’s not why they do it.

When I lived in Vancouver, the owner of the Canucks was a soulless corporation that did a fine job, but didn’t seem to have a passion for the team. They lucked out that they were in Canada and the fans’ passion was automatically there. The owner of the basketball team didn’t seem to care at all about appealing to fans and ended up selling the team to an equally passionless person.

But Cuban took the worst team in the NBA for the 90s and turned them into the second best team of the 2000s (during the regular season, I hate to add). But for a while there, they were also the most fun team in the NBA (not really any more, though, I hate to add). They had a strange international roster for a season, which not only had the best German and Canadian in the league, but also the best Mexican and Chinese player (this was before Yao, of course).

Anyway, can you think of another owner in any sport that has had this big of an impact on a team or even a league? Perhaps Steinbrenner has proven that you can buy a championship in MLB. Jerry Jones put the swagger back in the Cowboys and built a dynasty in the 90s. But Cuban has actually affected the way the games are refereed and, from what I can gather, changed the game-watching experience in every arena. When I made my first trip to the AA Center, I was blown away by the attack on my senses. It was like a playoff atmosphere for a meaningless game in late December.

And other than Steinbrenner or Jones, what other owner would get this treatment from ESPN on the occasion of his 10th anniversary of owning the team?

Last note on Cuban. A good friend of mine went to a Mavericks game in Memphis and sent me a photo of himself with Cuban. I can’t imagine anyone doing that with any other owner for three reasons. First is that nobody cares about the other owners, because they’re not usually very interesting. Second, no other owner sits so close to fans at road games. Lastly, other owners are rarely as successful as Cuban. He seems like a strange guy, perhaps even socially awkward. But the fact that the Mavericks win trumps all that.


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4 Responses to “10th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution!”

  1. mrwill316 Says:

    I was preparing to move to Dallas Texas from Seattle on 1/4/00. Friends of mine forewarned me about how passionate an owner Mr. Cuban would be for the Mavericks.

    When I finally came to Texas I was impressed by the level of commitment Mark took the fandom for watching a Maverick game to. Completely fan friendly and the best entertainment in all of Texas sport.

    I can also tell you I have never dealt with an owner who was so quick to answer back emails, usually within the hour on a given day. Happy Anniversary Mark! Thanks for all you do!


    Willie Martin

    • ivangoddard Says:

      Seattle ended up being the anti-Mavericks, didn’t they? A great team in the 90s became forgettable in the 00s. The owner was the opposite of Cuban. He treated them like a business and ended up selling them when he didn’t make any money, caring nothing about how he treated the fans. His ire in Seattle is well deserved.

      Speaking of the Sonics in the 90s. The 94-95 team might be the most underrated of all time. They were 64-18 with 2 great players in their prime and other fantastic role players. They also were the only team to beat the Bulls during the playoffs and many consider that Bulls team to be the greatest team ever. I wonder if they would be allowed to move had they upset Jordan’s Bulls.

  2. Willie Martin Says:

    Agreed on all counts. The last game I saw the Sonics play was 1/12/01. The day ownership was taken from Barry Ackerley. The opponent that night were the Vancouver Grizzlies. I can look back and laugh at this.

    I came to Texas, Vancouver went further east to Memphis and yes the Sonics fans were royally screwed on the transfer. Old timers however remember this scenario playing out in 1970 days before a season were to begin when the Pilots went east to Milwaukee. Oh yeah, a car salesman headed that group. He is now the current commissioner. Bud Selig. Go figure. Topping all that was having A-Rod follow me to North Texas…

    Note to NHL: Seattle WOULD support a hockey team as would Portland!

    That Sonic team of 94 and 95 was special. Thanks for not mentioning the Denver debacle 🙂

  3. ivangoddard Says:

    Oops, I don’t know why I wrote 94-95. I meant 95-96, which made the finals.

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