After Mark Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks, he quickly became the most publicly visible owner in the NBA, and took a more active role in management than most others as well. Basketball analysts laughed, saying he knew no more about the game than the average fan, and should leave personnel decisions to the experts.

Cuban had the last laugh. His so-called meddling with the roster and coaching staff has quickly turned the Mavericks from a bad team getting worse into a good team getting better.

Cuban has taken his public visibility a bit too far, in the eyes of the NBA. He has been fined by the league repeatedly, for infractions ranging from sitting on the baseline (which is reserved for photographers) to putting a replay on the scoreboard jumbotron that clearly showed a referee's late-game, outcome-altering call to be in error.

One of the most successful owners in NBA history, Mark Cuban has used his massive wealth to transform the Dallas Mavericks from an ailing franchise to a title contender. Cuban is passionate about perceived fouls on his team, and he is deeply worried about their health. While he doesn't mind paying $500 000 a pop for being able to speak his mind, he says that if the NBA were to decide to penalise Cuban by making the Mavericks forfeit draft picks, he would rather sell the team than see them hurt like that. He is also known for matching all of his fines with dollar-for-dollar donations to various charities. About a month before the DQ incident in January of 2001, Cuban hired his own "statistics expert" to track all of the officials in every Mavericks game.

Mark Cuban's Fines:

  • November 14, 2000: Fined $5 000 for criticising an official after a loss against the Sacramento Kings.
  • November 20, 2000: Fined $15 000, after having to be physically removed from the court after confronting an official during a Mavericks game against the Phoenix Suns.
  • November 22, 2000: Cuban was levied $25 000 after verbally abusing and publicly criticising referees after a game against the Seattle Supersonics.
  • January 4, 2001: Cuban was hit with a $250 000 fine for criticising the referees following a game aginst the Detroit Pistons.
  • January 11, 2001: Cuban was penalised $100 000 after sitting on the baseline during a game aginst the Minnesota Timberwolves. He claimed it was because there were no open seats behind the bench and he didn't want to take one of the coaches' seats.
  • February 16, 2001: Fined $10 000 and suspended for two games after running onto the court to break up a fight when the Mavericks played the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • April 13, 2001: Cuban is fined $100 000 for making a derogatory gesture after the Mavericks lost in Phoenix.
  • January 8, 2002: Cuban was penalised $500 000 for griping about the officiating after a 105-103 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. This is the largest fine to ever be paid by a single person in NBA history, owner or player. Cuban is quoted as saying about referee Ed T. Rush that "He might be a good referee, but I wouldn't hire him to manage a Dairy Queen." After being hit with the hefty fine, Cuban received even more publicity after angry Dairy Queen employees invited him to manage a Dallas-area franchise for a day, where he experienced just how hard it is to manage a DQ.
  • November 15, 2003: After going almost 2 years without a single fine, Cuban is levied $100,000 by the league for comments he made about the officiating following an overtime loss in Memphis.
  • March 17, 2004: Cuban is fined $10,000 for what the league called "inappropriate public comments" after the Mavericks lost to the San Antonio Spurs on March 5. After the 113-110 loss, the Mavs owner was so angered by the overtly physical play of the Spurs that he stated he would pay any fines incurred by his players if they used a ball swipe move against the Spurs' Bruce Bowen.

Current Total: $1 115 000

Update: 27/09/02 Last Saturday saw the 149th* richest American exit the bachelor market as Mark Cuban married his fiancee Tiffany Stewart in Barbados. I'd be pretty surprised if marriage mellows him out at all, though. Look for Cubes to be back racking up fines as soon as the season starts....

* Taken from the 2002 Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans, which estimated Cuban's net worth at 1.3 billion

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