Sunday, September 25, 2022
News for Independent BusinessBefore they were Big Time – Mark Cuban –...

Before they were Big Time – Mark Cuban – A Series…


He has been referred to by some as “The living American dream,” while you know him as the flamboyant host on Shark Tank. Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and so much more. But as you might imagine, it wasn’t always this way.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Mark comes from a working-class family that didn’t always have high hopes for this aspiring entrepreneur. Even at a young age, his mom recommended he learn how to lay carpet because she was concerned about his future. Hard to believe.

As a boy, his hustler mentality turned entrepreneurial as he sold baseball cards, stamps, and coins, always having an iron in the fire. Cuban began his education at the University of Pittsburgh, transferring to Indiana University and graduating in 1981. As many college graduates of that time period, Cuban had a hard time finding a job in what was then a stagflationary economy.

The self-proclaimed “Tech-Geek” quickly saw that technology was swiftly changing, and saw the internet as the place to be positioned. He started a company called MicroSolutions, and in 1990 sold the firm to CompuServe for $6 million. Far from done, Cuban and college partner Todd Wagner formed, took the company public in 1998, and sold two years later to Yahoo for $6 billion. A millionaire at 32 years of age and a billionaire by 40.

The very next year, Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million from Ross Perot, Jr. A longtime season ticket holder, the chance to be a part of the professional sports world was a dream. The team qualified for the playoffs in 2001, set a franchise record for wins (57) the following year and made it to the 2006 NBA Finals before losing to the Miami Heat. In 2011, the Mavericks finally won the NBA title by defeating the Heat. By the way, Forbes values the Dallas Mavericks at about $1.6 billion today. Not a bad investment.

From humble begins, perhaps because of them, the age old adage that “you can’t hide money” is very true with Cuban. Cuban has done his fair share of spending. In addition to the private airplane, a Gulfstream 5 that he paid $40 million for, in 1999 he paid $17.6 million for a 24,000-square-foot mansion in Dallas, where he and his family still live.  Cuban married his longtime girlfriend Tiffany Stewart in 2002. They have three children together, daughters Alexis (born 2003) and Alyssa (2006), and son Jake (2010). When the Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2011, Cuban reportedly spent $110,000 on his team’s bar tab that night. “Worth every penny,” he told The New York Post. I’m guessing it wasn’t dollar draft beer night.

While Cuban has every reason to go into retirement mode, he’s done anything but that. He made a big foray into the high-definition TV market with HDNet (later AXS TV) and launched his own reality TV series. Like President Trump and others before him, Cuban took his brand of tenaciousness and business astuteness to Hollywood. He began by purchasing the Landmark Theatres chain and Magnolia Pictures in 2003. True to form, he also thrust himself into the national conversation when inspired, boasting he could beat both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as campaigning for the U.S. presidency heated up in 2015.

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