I'd argue that we here at Mavs Moneyball are the single most critical Mavericks blog on the web. But all of us love this team. And that includes Mark Cuban, who is hands down the best owner in sports. He turns 55 today, and we wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday and thank him for his ownership tenure.
I had been a casual fan of the Mavericks since before Cuban bought the team. But in 2002 when Cuban was in the midst of his war on NBA refereeing, he actually uttered the phrase "I wouldn't hire [NBA Head of Officiating] Ed Rush to manage a Dairy Queen." To this day I remember the blowback: a $500,000 fine, a record for a non-player. Cuban then went to work for a local Dairy Queen for a day, if only to draw attention to the ridiculous nature of the fine and lack of accountability surrounding NBA officiating. That DQ was in my home town and from that day onward, I was hooked on the Mavericks. Go read the whole story here; it's fantastic, even 11 years later.
Mark Cuban's belief in his team and his ability to be a difference maker has drastically changed how we fans watch the game. Ever go to an NBA game live and see the shot clock from any seat? Thank Mark Cuban for that. Advanced statistics in basketball analysis? Cuban was a pioneer. These are but two of dozens of examples of ways Mark Cuban has improved professional basketball, both for players and fans.
We're glad he's here, no matter how annoyed we might get with a particular move, decision or interview. He's taken our favorite franchise and lifted it to heights that were unthinkable 15 years ago.
So enjoy your 55th year, Mr. Cuban. We hope it brings you and your family great things.