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Famous in the NBA for his zealous management of the Dallas Mavericks, entrepreneur Mark Cuban has also owned multiple Internet startups and a theater chain.
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In 2000, businessman and venture capitalist Mark Cuban bought the basketball team the Dallas Mavericks.
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For Cuban, a longtime season ticketholder, the chance to be a part of the professional sports world was a dream. The Mavericks, however, were far from a dream franchise.
Plagued by poor personnel decisions and mediocre players and coaches, the club experienced more than a decade of non-playoff basketball games. Cuban used his new role as owner to immediately change that. With his trademark enthusiasm and doggedness, he revamped the culture of the team and its roster,
erecting a new stadium and pampering his players.
Cuban showed himself to be the club's biggest booster. Choosing to sit with the fans, Cuban egged on opponents and derided refs with the best of them. The Mavericks responded positively to the new owner's zeal. The franchise qualified for the playoffs in 2001, set a team record for wins (57) the following year, made it to the 2006 NBA Finals before losing to the Miami Heat, then eventually won the NBA title in June of 2011 against the Heat.
Cuban also brought a touch of innovation to his ownership of the team. He was the first owner to launch his own blog, a swirling mix of his own tech insights and thoughts on NBA basketball. The blog became wildly popular, receiving thousands of emails a day from his readers.
Online and off, Cuban is an unfiltered force of opinion, a bombastic personality among the rather stodgy inner circle of NBA ownership. He made waves when he called Kobe Bryant's sexual assault case "great for the NBA. It's reality television, people love train-wreck television, and you hate to admit it, but that is the truth, that's the reality today."
In another instance, he attacked former director of NBA of officiating Ed Rush, saying that he "might have been a great ref, but I wouldn't hire him to manage a Dairy Queen." The statement eventually found the chagrined billionaire putting in a day's shift at a Dairy Queen in Coppell, Texas.
In all, Cuban has amassed more than $2 million in NBA fines for his controversial comments over the years. Yet not a dollar of these fines has done anything to edit what comes out of his mouth. "Who lives their lives worried about what someone else thinks?" Cuban once told reporters. "Before you guys were writing about me in the sports page, people were calling me crazy in the computer industry. People were calling me crazy in the systems integration industry. People said I was lucky...The more people think I'm crazy and out of my mind, typically, the better I do."
In 2004, Cuban caught the attention of the Security and Exchange Commission, which charged him with insider trading. Cuban claimed he was innocent, and in July 2009 the case was dismissed.
While Cuban has every reason to go into retirement mode, he's done anything but that. He's made a big foray into the high-definition TV market with a new startup, HDNet; launched his own reality TV series; and on the advice of his young daughter, was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. He's further augmented his own celebrity with small screen and television appearances, and has brought his business acumen to the world of film and TV production.
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The American Dream is the notion that, with hard work, any individual can emerge from poor circumstances to a life of wealth and security. Despite the economic ups and downs of modern times, the notion of lifting one's self up is still ingrained in our mindset. Some of our most famous celebrities are, in fact, people who came from nothing. Talent, hard work, and good fortune aligned to make these individuals successful business leaders, actors, athletes and more.
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