A Weird Thing About Owning a Team

When I bought the Mavs, I knew there would be tons of things I couldn’t anticipate and wouldn’t be ready for until I faced them head on. One of the most visible, but least enjoyable elements of owning a team is that you are in charge of the Good Guy/Bad Guy Ledger.

In other words, I have to determine whether the guys who have played or worked here in the past are BFF (Best Friends of the Mavs Forever), or AYFR (Are You For Real – as in the Nelly Song)

When I got to the Mavs, I wanted to make sure that former Mavs were around to help create a connection between current and past. Although the standings hadn’t been kind to the Mavs as of Jan 2000, that didn’t matter. Some of the first things I did was offer Rolando Blackman and Derek Harper their choice of jobs. Brad Davis was already here and I opened the door to pretty much any Mav who had played here.

To open the door for former Mavs, we created the position of Player Development Coach. I didn’t care how many we ended up with. it was a way for our players to get personal attention from guys who had been in the league and for the guys to get into the NBA in a coaching capacity and to start to build a coaching career. I caught a lot of heat. We still hear stories about how the Mavs have more coaches than players, , but its worked out great. From Greg Dreiling to Morlon Wiley to Mark Bryant to Popeye Jones, guys have come back and been huge helps to our team. If you played here, you were BFF.

Things started to get sticky with the trade of Nick Van Exel. The media wanted to know how the organization would respond to Nick when he returned as part of the TrailBlazers. Then of course things got far stickier with Steve Nash and Michael Finley.

Both are great guys. Both are great players. Both have been integral parts of the Mavs turnaround over the past 7 years. Both are now former Mavs. Both play for teams that are huge rivals of ours. As do, or have a long list of guys who have been Mavericks that I really like. From Erick Strickland to Robert Pack to Ced Ceballos, Gary Trent, Shawn Bradley and Sean Rooks, to Eddie Najera, Etan Thomas, Raef LaFrentz, Juwan Howard, Darrel Armstrong, Josh Powell, Rawle Marshall and others that escape me as I write this. Guys that were traded or we didnt resign at our choice. Those are guys who once they retire, will always have the opportunity to come back and be part of the Mavs organization.

If a guy has given 110pct in effort for this organization, I can’t do anything but respect them. People in this league like to think that respect is defined by how much you pay someone. Its not. If you can play, someone in this league will pay you. Respect is defined by what you do for someone when no one is watching or writing about it. Few guys are in the league as long as 10 years. All of them are out of the leauge for much, much longer than that. Thats when it counts. When you don’t need anything from the former player and you are still willing to help. If you gave 110pct to the Mavs, I will return the respect and always try to help.

Im the same way in all of my businesses. When we started Broadcast.com , the first people I tried to hire were former MicroSolutions people. When we started HDNet and when I bought the Mavs, I looked to MicroSolutions and Broadcast.comers that worked for me to come help in our new businesses.

The 2nd part of the BFF side of the ledger is retiring numbers. Honestly, this is a tough decision. There have been so many great players in our organization. My first pass on criteria is that I want to wait till we win a championship before I retire any more numbers. Championship banners and retired numbers look great next to each other. They balance each other out. Im not saying I wouldn’t change my mind on this, but as of now, thats where I stand.

As far as the other side of the list. The AYFR side. Well lets just say there are 2 individuals that are on that side of the ledger / People who quit on the Mavs and who were more concerned with getting paid than putting in a honest days work to get an honest days pay. There are 3 people in all of my other businesses combined in the last 25 years that just quit on me and basically stole from me. In any of my businesses, if you quit on me, if you take money without doing the work. Thats unforgivable.

Should any of them ever come back to Dallas, looking for anything, Im just going to play them Ride Wit Me.

Petty, but satisfying.

17 thoughts on “A Weird Thing About Owning a Team

  1. Mark, I liked the inside story about buying a pro team. I think it\’s awesome that you guys picked up Devon Harris. I\’m a big Wisconsin fan who hopes he\’s one of the 110% players!

    Comment by trampolines -

  2. sute, Roy Tarpley is on that list.

    Comment by Timberland -

  3. The YouTube embed was hilarious Mr. Cuban.

    I bet Nelly is happy he is getting money from the record company deals with Goo-Tube. oh wait…

    Comment by Craig -

  4. Although I’m a Celtics fan for life, I do respect Mark Cuban and how personable and down to earth he is. How many sports owners can you say that about?

    Comment by Ryan -

  5. I would just like to ask what motivates you to continue to invest in a multitud of different venues, other than the money?

    Comment by Ronnie -

  6. i’m not guessing because it’s none of my business (c’mon, people, mark would name the names if it was public concern).

    RESPECT has been the underlying theme of the good blogmaverick posts lately – to one end or another. i intend to covertly paste that paragraph containing the boldface definition directly above the coffee machines at work, for spits and giggles.

    Comment by saM FFL -

  7. Dammit Mark. I before e except after c or when used as in neighbor or weigh (or weird).

    No need to thank me, its what I do.

    Comment by Klaus -

  8. I’d guess Roy Tarpley is on that list

    Comment by ted -

  9. Any chance this Nellie, i mean Nelly video will be taken down Youtube and not work any more?

    Comment by Joe -

  10. In all of those situations, do you try to make sure there is a good mix of the ‘new’ too–to get new perspectives? That exciting creativity is what drives real success anyways, isn’t it? It’s good that you can count on that from a good dedicated group of people (As far as the businesses go); I wouldn’t know if those fields were the sort which required fresh ideas that old friends sometimes couldn’t provide as well.

    Good definition of respect!

    Comment by Sam Jackson -

  11. Mark, I like your approach. As one of the younger owners in the NBA you took an approach that many of your peers have not or would not. You catch some flak for that but so what. The key to any business is relationship building. I dont care if it basketball, software, selling cars. Building long term relationships will pay off and you have proof of that already.

    I also like the idea about not retiring numbers until you win a championship. That only makes sense.

    Now talking about the AYFR I would be devastated if you had Steve Nash on that list. That guy left everything on the floor every game. He was an inspirational leader to the rest of the team and it is easy to say without Steve there would have been a few more devastating seasons.

    I remember your blog shortly after Steve left the organization. Dealing with the agent made it very difficult and in some ways the numbers didnt make sense for you to make that signing . Each of you made a simple business decision and I dont recall Steve ever having a single negative comment about the Mavericks. Like wise you never had any negative things to say about Steve. Obviously you were very disappointed because you thought Steve would be a Maverick for life. I hope that your expectation is not clouding your judgment on what Steve meant to the Mavericks and some day could again in another capacity.

    I would love someday to see Steves and Dirks jerseys retired hanging side by side flanked by some championship banners.


    Comment by Robert -

  12. Tariq Abdul Wahad

    Comment by Dave -

  13. Finley has got to be one of them, he’s not exactly known around the world as a workaholic and contributor.

    As for me… I’ve never been fond of firing people. I am, however, very good at making those same people quit. It’s easier that way, especially if they have a contract. If I fire them I still have to pay them, if they quit… well, you get the jist.

    Comment by zOOm -

  14. I thought the two were Steve Nash and Michael Finley.

    Comment by Ryan -

  15. You’re lucky you only have two. I’d say that’s a pretty damn good average.

    I wonder where you come down on those you’ve fired. Not everyone’s fired for a good reason, at times it’s the circumstance.

    (I hate firing people for any reason. It keeps me up at night.)

    Comment by Jeff Barson -

  16. Rodman? Probably not, but my only guess…

    Comment by Ted Forbes -

  17. Nellie is obviously 1 on AYFR side as he quit coaching right before the playoffs. Anyone know who the other is?

    Comment by winash -

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