When you think of the people David Stern has clashed with, Mark Cuban comes first to mind. There have been fines, public disagreements, fines, the “David Stern University” T-shirt, backhanded insults, and don’t forget fines.
But truth be told, Cuban really likes Stern.
“I love David,” Cuban said during a Tuesday interview on NBA TV. “I mean, David and I have banged heads a couple times, [but] the truth be told, David Stern made me. Nobody knew who Mark Cuban was until he started fining the hell out of me and sent me to work at Dairy Queen. So he made my job of selling tickets a lot easier.”
“David took us internationally. Even when I came in, I wasn’t a big proponent of international, and David was there. David was a big proponent of digital — the Internet — [and] I remember sitting down talking to him. Even before I bought the team [in Jan. 2000], he invited me in to talk about streaming and the Internet. I helped him set up his first Twitter account. He was always open-minded about expanding into new areas and you really have to respect that.”
“Despite the fact that we disagreed on a lot of things, we really agreed on far more. I’ll miss him. I really like David.”
The bottom line with Cuban is the bottom line — Stern helped make Cuban a whole lot of money.
If you wonder why other owners often seem to fall in line with what Stern wants that is the reason — they feel indebted because the value of their franchises went up so much during their ownership and they made a lot of money because of it.
It’s going to take Adam Silver a while to build up that kind of political capital.
By the way, Cuban said he wants to do something to get one final fine from Stern on his final day in office. That would be fitting.