Mark Cuban is probably the most bombastic man in the NBA racking up massive fines for shouting at referees from his perch as owner of the Dallas Mavericks so it's a pretty safe bet he'll face his latest adversaries with gusto. Only this time, it's the Securities and Exchange Commission he'll be fending off. Cuban, who co-founded Broadcast.com and sold it to Yahoo! for billions, was charged on Nov. 17 with insider trading, accused of using non-public information to avoid losing $750,000 on a 2004 stock sale. Cuban has denied the charges, saying on his blog, "The government's claims are false and they will be proven to be so."
He was born in Pittsburgh in 1958, the son of a car upholsterer named Norton. Growing up, he was an overweight kid with Coke-bottle glasses, devoted to stamp and coin collecting. He wanted to be rich from a very young age, selling everything from garbage bags to magazine subscriptions door-to-door to make money.
He attended the University of Indiana, where he played rugby and bought a nightclub that he named Motley's. He says he had to shut down the bar when authorities discovered that the winner of an in-house wet T-shirt contest was a 16-year-old girl on probation for prostitution.
After college, he worked at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, where he learned about computing technology. He quit after a few years and moved to Dallas in 1982, where he eventually started a consulting and computer company that he sold for $6 million in 1990. After the sale, Cuban moved to Los Angeles and played roles in several small movies. (He later appeared in several episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger.)
In the mid 1990s, Cuban co-founded the company that would become Broadcast.com, which started as a web site to access live sports games online. The company went on to broadcast other content including Bill Clinton's testimony in the Monica Lewinsky affair and a Victoria's Secret fashion show. Cuban and his partner took Broadcast.com public and sold it to Yahoo! in 1999 for $5.7 billion in stock.
In 2000, Cuban bought the NBA Dallas Mavericks for $280 million. He is known for screaming at referees while sitting courtside. In 2002, he was fined $500,000 by the NBA for, among other things, saying of a ref: "I wouldn't hire him to manage a Dairy Queen." As a publicity stunt, Cuban filled in for one day as a manager at a Texas Dairy Queen.
Nearly 20 years ago after he made his first million dollars Cuban bought a lifetime American Airlines pass and flew all over the world. In 2000, he bought his own jet for a reported $40 million, over e-mail.
In 2001, Cuban co-founded HDNet, a high-definition television network. The current programming line-up includes Dan Rather Reports. Cuban also owns or co-owns a film production company, chain of movie theaters and the web site sharesleuth.com, which is devoted, in part, to investigating securities fraud. His film production company, HDNet Movies, came under heavy fire in 2007 for financing the movie Redacted about an incident in which U.S. soldiers raped and killed a 14-year-old Iraqi girl.
His nicknames have included "Pudgy" and "Cubes"
He loves wiffle ball, 70s funk, e-mail (he thinks the telephone is an antiquated way of communicating), The Fountainhead and the movie Risky Business.
He competed on the 2007 season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, shortly after having hip replacement surgery.
He has two young daughters with wife, Tiffany, whom he married in 2002.
His ability to influence pretty much any industry he touches along with his apparent obsession with being rich and famous has made him ripe for parody as a pushy, arrogant, no-holds-barred executive.
Quotes about Cuban:
"He's a smart man. He didn't become a billionaire by accident."
Mavericks forward Jerry Stackhouse, on Cuban's success in bringing the team to the NBA Finals for the first time in the franchise's 26-year history (Washington Post, June 8, 2006)
"Mark is a total loser. This all started in 2004, when he tried to do a
show, The Benefactor, which was a copy of The Apprentice and it was a
Donald Trump, real-estate tycoon and The Apprentice start (New York Post, Sept. 27, 2007)
"I always know I'm not going to be No. 1."
Tiffany Cuban, his wife, on his devotion to work (New York Times, March 5, 2000)
"Mark's used to getting his way. He needs to get over that. I've told him,
'Be careful. Everybody's going to think you're crazy.'"
Jeff Swaney, an old friend of Cuban's, on his public feud with former Mavericks coach Don Nelson (Fortune, Oct. 4, 2007)
Quotes from Cuban:
"If you're looking where everybody else is looking, you're looking in the wrong spot."
"When I die, I want to come back as me."
Tech Crunch, Sept. 9, 2008
"It's not like I think Donald Trump and Bill O'Reilly are smarter than me. It's the exact opposite. They've got little-man's complexes: No one ever stands up to them, and I have fun standing."
"I'm a guy who's gonna write you a check for $40 million, that's who I am."
When asked to confirm his identity during his purchase, via email, of a Gulfstream V Jet (Esquire, 2000)