Mark Cuban - The Benefactor
Mark Cuban was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to working class immigrants. He has described himself as a goofy-looking kid with funny teeth and large glasses who dreamed of becoming a pro basketball or baseball player. When he was 12, he started his first business selling garbage bags door-to-door. During his teenage years, he sold powdered milk, and even imported newspapers from Cleveland during a newspaper strike in Pittsburgh.
After graduating from Indiana University in 1981, Cuban moved to Dallas. Without any formal computer training whatsoever, he started MicroSolutions, a computer consulting business. In 1990 he sold the company to CompuServe and became a multi-millionaire.
In 1994, Cuban and friend Todd Wagner wanted to listen to Indiana Hoosiers basketball game broadcasts, but were unable to since they were hundreds of miles away in Dallas. After realizing that it could be accomplished over the Internet and that it might also be a great business venture, they invested $3,000 and went to work building AudioNet. The service enabled people to listen to radio broadcasts from across the country through the internet. In the late 1990s, the service grew in popularity and was renamed Broadcast.com. In 1999, Yahoo.com acquired Broadcast.com for $6 billion worth of stock and Cuban became a billionaire.
In 2000, Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks franchise, considered at the time as one of the worst teams in the NBA. He focused on making games a total entertainment experience for the fans. He became the first owner to encourage fan interaction through email which he personally responds to. Based on fan suggestions, he has made several innovative changes at Mavericks games such as a new three-sided shot clock which allows line-of-sight from anywhere in the arena. An avid fan himself, Cuban can often be seen passionately cheering on the Mavericks right next to the players. The Mavericks record has steadily improved since 2000, finishing in the first round of the NBA playoffs in the 2003-04 season.
Mark Cuban also runs HDNet, an all high-definition television network. He lives in Dallas with his wife and their baby daughter.