CBS 11 Sports Director Babe Laufenberg recently sat down with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The two talked about the Mavs’ NBA title run this year, Cuban’s outlook for what’s next, and the possibility of Mark Cuban one day holding public office. Here is part of their conversation.
BABE LAUFENBERG: You won the NBA Championship on June 12 – what have the last 3 months been like for you?”
MARK CUBAN: Phenomenal… Cloud 99. When we didn’t win it before, I said ‘how much fun can it be? Right? It would be fun – how could it possibly rank up there?’ I was wrong, it’s better than I ever expected.
I’ll tell you the interesting thing about it. Whenever Mavs had any success before it was always ‘congratulations, congratulations, congratulations.’ Now people don’t come up and say congratulations, they say ‘Thank You.’
BABE: All the sudden you had a lot of Mavs Fans?
CUBAN: Everybody, It wasn’t a lot of Mavericks Fans, I mean everybody was a Mavericks Fan. I was in New York, a couple of weeks ago for work I walked into a restaurant with friends, half the restaurant started clapping.
Since buying the Mavericks in January 2000, Mark Cuban has done it all. He’s sat with fans, run on the court, argued with referees, been fined numerous times by NBA Commissioner David Stern. Cuban has even served ice cream at Dairy Queen and worked a cash register at Wal-Mart.
CUBAN: When I first got into the league, everyone was like ‘go into the owners suite, shut the hell up, write the checks, don’t be near the players, don’t do this, don’t do that.
So we are in the owners meeting yesterday and they are going through what franchises have to do to be successful. It’s a checklist of all the things I’ve done:
Owners need to be front and center. Owners need to talk to customer. Owners need to be among the fans. You have to be on social media too. I told David Stern that I wish he would have said this 10 years ago, it would have saved me a lot of money.
In addition to winning over his constituents among the NBA owners, Cuban endeared himself to his local critics with one very simple act. He allowed original Mavericks owner Don Carter to accept the Larry O’Brien trophy from David Stern after the Mavericks won the trophy.
BABE: Did you know how many fans you would win over by allowing Don Carter to put his hands on that trophy?
CUBAN: No, I didn’t. That did not cross my mind at all.”
BABE: Did you realize people that might have said – had a certain view of Mark Cuban – as soon as that happened, I hate to say this, I think I may like that guy.
CUBAN: I did not really think about it. After the Lakers Series, he told me ‘I’ve waited forever for this to happen. If we can win it all, that would make my life.’”
Even before I got my wife, I got Mr. C up there. It was just the right thing to do.
BABE: Even Today, 3 months later, you’re still emotional. Why does that bring that emotion to you?
CUBAN: Because Donald Carter is the Mavericks. When somebody tells you that it’s that important to them, how could you not be emotional? Feels Good.”
BABE: Let’s pull back the curtain. If that trophy could talk, what’s the one thing it would like to tell right now.
CUBAN: (sighs) Probably mad at me for taking him into the bathroom.
BABE: What’s the best thing that thing’s got to do since you’ve had possession of it?
CUBAN: It’s the city of Dallas’ trophy. So I try to take it as many places as I can. That’s why people around me say ‘don’t let it get scratched!’ I’m like ‘you know what, if it’s not scratched, it’s not getting enough lovin’!’
BABE: What about Mark Cuban? What’s left for you? You sold company for oodles of money. You won the NBA Title. You’ve got a nice spread here. What’s next on the horizon?
CUBAN: I don’t know, there’s the part of me right now that feels and obligation on the business side because the economy is suffering so much. To try to find ways to create jobs. To try to use sweat equity, cash, brain power, whatever it is to invest in companies, start companies that can create jobs. Because we are not going to get it from the government.
BABE: Politics? Hey if Jesse Ventrura can be governor, why can’t Mark Cuban run for President?
CUBAN: It’s been really weird how I’ve had a lot of people ask me that.
BABE: You have ideas – a sense of business.
CUBAN: Could you imagine me up there? There’s a lot of things I could do a better job on. I don’t have the patience. I’m not a believer in compromise.
BABE: But maybe your ideas are so good, there’s no need for compromise! Everybody falls in step.
BABE: What about Charles Barkley as your Vice President?
CUBAN: That would be cool.
BABE: Could you imagine you and Barkley?
CUBAN: Now if Charles decides he wants to be a vice president and he wants me to run as President, then maybe I’ll reconsider. That would be interesting.
BABE: I asked you your next big challenge ahead. You know what that is?
CUBAN: Yeah, My Family. My kids. My 8 year old thinks she is 25. My 5 year old thinks she’s a fashion model. It’s great, but having 2 girls first was payback. (looks up to the heavens) Yup, All those things you did in the past. Payback!