Before becoming the owner of one of the NBA's most beloved teams, Mark Cuban was another passionate season ticket holder for the Dallas Mavericks. However, his dissatisfaction with the team's lackluster performances, a sentiment shared by many fellow fans, soon became the catalyst for a remarkable change.
The Mavericks, once a team struggling to make an impact, had not seen playoff action since 1990 and had been without a postseason victory since 1988. Cuban vividly recalls the atmosphere during the opening night of the 1999-2000 NBA season: a lack of sell-out crowds and the absence of any natural energy in the arena despite the team boasting talents like Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, and Shawn Bradley.
"I can do a better job than this," Cuban thought, a realization that set him on the path to ownership. Having recently sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo for a staggering $5.7 billion, Cuban was in a prime position to make a significant move.
After conversations with Mavericks' associate Mark Aguirre and then-owner Ross Perot Jr., Cuban took over the team in January 2000, marking the beginning of a new era for the franchise.
Cuban's Bold Beginnings
Bold moves marked the early days of Cuban ownership, the most notable being the acquisition of Dennis Rodman.
While Rodman's tenure with the Mavericks was brief and tumultuous, it underscored Cuban's willingness to take risks. Under his ownership, the Mavericks transformed into a powerhouse, winning at least 50 games in his first 11 seasons and making consistent playoff appearances, including two NBA Finals trips.
The pinnacle of success came in 2011 when the Mavericks clinched their first championship. Cuban's era saw the team evolve continually, bidding farewell to the Nowitzki era and ushering in new talents like Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving.
Despite not returning to the NBA Finals since their championship win, the Mavericks have maintained a competitive edge, primarily attributed to Cuban's leadership and willingness to invest in the team's success. Sportico recently reported that the Mavericks hold the second-highest winning percentage in the NBA since Cuban's takeover in 2000, trailing the San Antonio Spurs.
This success is not just limited to the court; it also extends to the business realm. Cuban is reportedly in talks to sell a majority stake of the Mavericks to the Adelson family, owners of Las Vegas Sands, for an estimated $3.5 billion.
Despite this change, Cuban is expected to maintain control over basketball operations.
The story of the Dallas Mavericks under Mark Cuban is one of transformation from underachievers to consistent contenders.
Statement regarding the Adelson and Dumont families’ “binding purchase agreements to acquire majority ownership and the right to serve as Governor of the Dallas Mavericks” pic.twitter.com/36Jpi4ioAZ — Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 29, 2023
As Cuban prepares to take a step back from full ownership, his impact on the team and the NBA remains undeniable. The Mavericks, once struggling for relevance, are now a testament to what visionary leadership can achieve in sports.