Mark Cuban bought the majority of the Mavericks back in 2000 for $285 million (current Forbes estimated value, $685 million) then proceeded to change the culture of what had been one of the worst run franchises in the league. In 2011 Dallas got its NBA title and has become a destination free agents seriously consider.
And it’s all thanks to former Dallas star Mark Aguirre.
The three-time All-Star and two-time NBA Champion (with the Bad Boy Pistons) told the story to the Star-Telegram of him being the connection between Cuban and the Perot family.
No one knows if the introduction would have eventually happened. But it was Mark Aguirre who introduced Mark Cuban to Ross Perot Jr., thus leading to the ownership change of the Dallas Mavericks…
“Even before he became the Mark Cuban, you can’t mistake him because the guy loved the Mavericks,” said Aguirre, who worked a free clinic for underprivileged kids Saturday at the Sports Authority in Plano. “Once he did all his things with Broadcast.com, we talked and I knew he loved [the team] so much that I said, ‘Would you have an interest in buying the Mavericks?’
“At that point Ross [Perot Jr.] was considering selling them, so I said Mark might be the best person to talk to, and he said he was interested. So at that point, I made sure I got the introductions right and then everything after that is history. Mark bled Mavericks and he wanted to own the team, so it was the right timing, the perfect match.”
Cuban had been a Mavericks season ticket holder before he owned the team and, the way Aguirre describes it Cuban was as demonstrative on the sidelines then as he is now.
If you’re a player, wouldn’t you want to be with an owner who has that kind of passion for the team? It’s far from the only factor (as the past couple free agent summers have shown in Dallas) but it matters. It’s why you get the feeling one way or another Cuban will figure it all out.