Mark Cuban biography
Born in Pittsburgh in 1958, entrepreneur Mark Cuban has ventured into many diverse businesses, from theater chains to Internet startups. In 1990, Cuban sold the firm CompuServe for $6 million, one of his largest early business ventures. He is most famous, however for for his zealous management of the Dallas Mavericks, which he purchased from Ross Perot, Jr. in 2000. In addition to his wise business decisions, Cuban is also known for his controversial and statements. He also began a television career on the reality series Shark Tank in 2009.
Entrepreneur and professional sports team owner Mark Cuban was born on July 31, 1958, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cuban had a typically middle-class childhood. His father, Norton, spent nearly half a century working at a car upholstery shop. His grandfather, Morris Chobanisky, emigrated from Russia and fed his family by selling merchandise out of the back of a truck.
Like his grandfather before him, though, Cuban inherited a tenacity for making a deal and carving out a better life for himself. He was a hard worker, too. At the age of 12, he sold sets of garbage bags to save up for a pair of shoes he liked. In high school he earned extra dollars any way he could, mainly by becoming a stamp and coin salesman.
His go-getter attitude extended to the classroom as well. He started taking psychology classes at the University of Pittsburgh his junior year in high school. He then skipped his senior year and enrolled full time at the college.
After his freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh Cuban, transferred to Indiana University. His understanding of supply and demand extended far outside the classroom. Needing to make money to continue on in college (he was paying his own tuition) Cuban started giving dance lessons. That endeavor soon led him to hosting lavish disco parties at the Bloomington National Guard armory.
After graduating in 1981, Cuban moved back to Pittsburgh and took a job with Mellon Bank, just as the company was ready to switch over to computers. Cuban immersed himself the study of machines and networking. But he had no real desire to hang out in his home city for too long, and in 1982 he left Pittsburgh for Dallas.
Cuban eventually landed a job selling software but, deciding he could do better on his own, formed his own consulting business, MicrosSolutions. Cuban was soon an expert in the field of computers and computer networking. He also had a knack for building a smart, profitable company. In 1990, Cuban sold the firm to CompuServe for $6 million.
His fortune making, however, was far from done. Sensing that a new world awaited with the development of the Internet, Cuban and a business partner, Indiana alum Todd Wagner, started AudioNet in 1995. Its formation was rooted in a desire to be able to listen to Indian Hoosier basketball games online. The company, despite its early critics, proved to be a smash success. Renamed Broadcast.com, the firm went public in 1998 and soon saw its stock reach $200 a share.
A year later, Wagner and Cuban sold out to Yahoo! for nearly $6 billion.
Purchasing an NBA Team
In 2000, Mark Cuban introduced himself to the NBA community when he purchased the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million from Ross Perot, Jr. 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 (SEC), which charged him with insider trading in regards to an Internet search engine website. Cuban claimed he was innocent, and in July 2009 the case was dismissed. However, the case was reinstated the following year. It was also during this time that Cuban joined the series Shark Tank as a venture capitalist, allowing for the trial to be put on hold.
In March of 2013, Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater let the case go to trial once again. The trial began on October 1, 2013. Later that month, he was officially cleared of all charges of insider trading by a Texas jury.
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. He's listed as an executive producer on big movie hits such as Goodnight and Good Luck, and Gonzo: the Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. In 2003, he purchased the Landmarks Theatre chain, and he also owns a stake in Lions Gate Entertainment.
An active voice in the athletic community, Cuban spoke out about Alex Rodriguez's 211 game suspension, which he was given for a drug related scandal in August 2013. The sports team owner said he thought Rodriguez's ban was "horrible" and that the prolonged suspension—first-time offenders receive a 50 game suspension and second-time offenders are suspended for 100—inflicted on him was "personal" during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Cuban went on to comment on Major League Baseball as a whole, claiming that he has no chance of buying a baseball team with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig running the sport like a "mafia."
Cuban married his longtime girlfriend Tiffany Stewart in 2002. They have two young daughters and live in the Dallas area.