Cuban Meets His Match

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Knott, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Mark Cuban has been one of the most compelling figures of the NBA since becoming the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000.

He repeatedly has been fined by the league for criticizing the referees and going where no other owner would be foolish enough to go, which is onto the court to break up a fight between angry men large enough to brush him aside as if he were an annoying gnat.

But that is Cuban. Love him or hate him - and there is no middle ground with him - he is not one to shrink from a fight.

Attack him and he will respond with a vigorous defense, often by e-mail. Question his stewardship as an NBA owner, and he will recite the moves, money and upgrades that led to the Mavericks being on the precipice of an NBA championship in 2006.

Cuban has been good for the Mavericks and the NBA, even if his actions have been over the top at times, even if he sometimes has blurred the line between owner and rabid fan.

Cuban is an energetic, enthusiastic, big-idea sort who believes in his decision-making ability and capacity to mold his enterprises into competitive giants, as you would expect from a self-made billionaire who grew up in a working-class family.

That unyielding belief in himself, normally a positive attribute, is possibly working against him now after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged him with insider trading this week.

As you might expect, the bulldog who is Cuban trotted out his lawyer, Ralph C. Ferrara, to pen the beginnings of a vigorous defense against the government. On Cuban's blog, Ferrara questioned the conduct and integrity of the government, which probably is not the way to go with those who print money.

Cuban's vast wealth cannot hold up to that, no more than Martha Stewart's could. It was not the insider trading that landed Stewart a state-paid stay at a bed and breakfast with bars. It was the cover-up. …