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Dallas Mavericks Look Back on Rescue by Mark Cuban 15 Years Ago

Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz
On Jan. 4, 2000, an unknown but brash 42-year-old billionaire from the world named Mark Cuban hedged his bets and purchased the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for $285 million. The Mavs were one of the laughingstocks in professional sports and the butt of jokes on the late-night TV talk-show circuit, the Star-Telegram said.

Surely, the new owner would come in swinging his ax and firing people left and right. Or so everyone thought.
Not only did Cuban retain Nelson and his staff, but he also gave them a vote of unbridled confidence that allowed them to do their work while he threw a pile of cash at player after player, the report said.

“Coming in and cleaning house wasn’t either the right thing for me to do or the smart thing for me to do, ” Cuban said. “I was new at this, so I wanted to learn from them.

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Cuban worked the media, talked up his team to whoever would listen and seemingly was all over the place. He was a bartender at a Dallas pub, worked at a Dairy Queen, played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters, and went out of his way to shower his players with exorbitant perks, according to the Star-Telegram.

Cuban often spoiled his players with luxury lockers fit with their own personal TV, and other electronic gadgets. He also introduced them to those fancy ergonomic chairs on the sidelines.

During an ice storm on one home game day, Cuban even sent 15 limos to the 15 players’ homes just to make sure they got to and from the game safely. It was a move that was more about just protecting his assets, the report said.
Cuban wanted to also send a message that he was truly about the players and their pressing needs.

“Mark, when he bought the team, obviously completely changed the culture of the Mavs, ” said Nowitzki, who is in his 17th season with the Mavs. “He bought us a new plane, he got us a new arena, we started staying in nice hotels, we started to have food after games and after practices, and he just put Dallas basketball back on the map.”

Cuban was a renaissance man who was used to having everything done his way. But he’s always been generous with his money.

Cuban also is known to speak his mind to the point where he has been fined nearly $2 million by the NBA, mostly for derogatory comments about the officiating. But that was his way of showing how much he cared about his players, the Star-Telegram said.

Donnie Nelson echoed that sentiment.

“Mark embraced us in our darkest hour, and that will never be lost on myself and the Nelson family, ” Nelson said. “So what kind of [15-year] anniversary present do you get the guy that’s supposed to have everything — more wins.

“I think the thing that I can do to return his generosity is bring another championship to Dallas. He’s done everything to put our franchise in position — not only in the here and now this year, and in the past when we had the parade, but I think in the future. As long as Mark’s at the helm we’ll be right there because he’s a winner in every sense of the word.”



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