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Mark Cuban

(1958 - )

Mark Cuban is a Jewish-American entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team and Chairman of HDNet, an HDTV cable network.

Cuban was was born on July 31, 1958, in Pittsburgh, Pensylvania, and grew up in the affluent suburb of Mount Lebanon in a Jewish, working-class family. His last name, Cuban, had been shortened from Chaberinsky when his Russian grandparents immigrated to the United States.

Cuban's first step into the business world occurred at age 12, when he sold garbage bags in order to pay for a pair of expensive basketball shoes. While in school, he held a variety of jobs, including bartending, disco dancing instructor, and party promotion. He earned his way to college by collecting and selling stamps, and once gained about $1,100 from starting a chain letter.

After attending Indiana University and earning a B.A. in Business, Cuban started MicroSolutions, initially a system integrator and software reseller. One of the company's largest clients was Perot Systems. In 1990, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to Compuserve, then a subsidiary of H&R Block, for $6 million. He netted approximately $2 million after taxes on the deal.

In 1995, Cuban and fellow Indiana University alum Todd Wagner started, combining their mutual interest in college basketball and webcasting. was acquired by Yahoo! and Cuban received $5.9 billion in stock from the sale.

Cuban purchased the Dallas Maverick NBA franchise in January 2000 and over the years successfully transformed the team from perennial losers into one of the leagues most dominating teams, reaching the NBA finals in 2006 and winning a title in 2011. His ownership style is both energetic and controversial, and he has been fined by the NBA on numerous occasions, mostly for critical statements about the league and referees.

Cuban began appearing as a regular investor on the hit TV series Shark Tank in 2010. In 2011, Cuban wrote an e-book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, in which he chronicles his life experiences in business and sports.

Speaking to the Adelson Educational Campus’ 13th annual In Pursuit of Excellence Gala in March 2017, Cuban quipped, being Jewish has given me a foundation for everything I am and everything I hope to be. 

In 2020, Cuban told the Forward that being Jewish made him more empathetic. He said one-quarter of his mother’s family was murdered in the Holocaust and, when his grandparents came to America from Russia, “they didn’t come here because they thought the weather was nice. They came here because if they didn’t leave they’d be dead.”

Sources: Wikipedia;;
PJ Grisar, “Mark Cuban: Being Jewish ‘allowed me to be more empathetic,’” Forward, (June 9, 2020).

Photo: Gage Skidmore licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.