It's rare that the owner of a sports team becomes a major celebrity. And yet that is what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban did, becoming a fixture on television and in news - all from owning an NBA team.
By the time Cuban bought the Mavericks, though, he was already a billionaire. Cuban's life and career took several different turns, all culminating in the billionaire we know today - never content to focus on one single thing and never far from your television screen.
But just how much is Mark Cuban worth, how did he make his money and what has he done with it since he became one of the world's wealthiest people?
Mark Cuban's Net Worth
The 60-year-old Cuban is currently worth a whopping $3.9 billion, according to Forbes. That puts him at No. 190 on the most recent Forbes 400 list. Not quite the net worth of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, but let's not pretend $3.9 billion isn't also an absurd amount of money for one person.
Becoming a billionaire during the dot-com boom, then getting out of the dot-com industry at the right time, diversifying his investments and pursuing new projects allowed to Cuban to grow his wealth to what it is today.
Mark Cuban's Education
Whereas many current billionaires were already born into exorbitant wealth and attended prestigious Ivy League universities, Cuban began his education at the University of Pittsburgh in his hometown, before transferring after a year to Indiana University Bloomington. He graduated from IU's Kelley School of Business in 1981, choosing it because of the top 10 business schools in the country, it had the cheapest tuition.
Cuban tried his hand at business ownership even before graduating. While still in college, he and some friends pooled money together to purchase and operate a bar, Motley's Pub.
How Did Mark Cuban Make His Money?
Not long after his graduation, Cuban moved to Dallas. After a brief job working as a software salesman that ended with him getting fired, Cuban started up MicroSolutions, a company in the same industry. Steadily he built up MicroSolutions until 1990, when he sold the company to CompuServe for $6 million. Cuban made $2 million on the deal.
Now a millionaire and only just entering his 30s, Cuban was content to retire early. His next inspiration struck several years later, along with fellow Indiana University graduate Todd Wagner, based out of a desire to listen to Hoosiers' basketball games online. The result was AudioNet, as Cuban and Wagner invested in and quickly took over the company in 1995. By 1998, AudioNet rebranded to what was better known as Broadcast.com.
Broadcast.com was one of the many successes during the dot-com boom before the bubble burst. Cuban and Wagner grew the company to the point that it eventually employed over 300 people, bringing in millions in revenue.
In 1999, Yahoo! came calling. Broadcast.com was sold to the internet giant in exchange for $5.7 billion of Yahoo! stock. Cuban quickly liquidated his share of the stocks - not only becoming a billionaire in the process, but successfully avoiding the disaster of the dot-com bubble burst.
Barely over 40, Cuban was now a straight-up billionaire. Cuban's first big decision with his money? Purchase a jet. Cuban's purchase of a Gulfstream V jet, at $40 million, was awarded by Guinness as the largest single internet purchase.
Cuban also expanded the industries he had a hand in, reuniting with Todd Wagner to form 2929 Entertainment, which put a stake in Landmark Theatres (a chain of movie theaters) and AXS TV (a high-definition television programming network formerly known as HDNet).
But Cuban's life and career post-Broadcast.com are likely known for two things: his time with the Dallas Mavericks and his time on "Shark Tank."
Mark Cuban and the Mavericks
In 2000, Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA for $285 million.
When Cuban bought the Mavericks, they were in the midst of their 10th consecutive season missing the playoffs. They had improved from a 19-win season to a 40-win season, but were still on the outside looking in. In those 10 years, they averaged under 24 wins a season, with the nadir being a miserable 11-71 record in the 1992-93 season. The Mavericks were utterly irrelevant in the league.
With a new owner in Mark Cuban and the emergence of a young star player in Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas went from 10 straight seasons without a playoff appearance to 12 straight seasons where they made the playoffs. In the sixth year of this run, the Mavericks made their first ever NBA Finals appearance. They lost to the Miami Heat in six games. The next year they were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with 67 wins and had the league MVP in Dirk Nowitzki, but were upset in stunning fashion by the eighth-seeded Warriors.
For the next few years after that, the Mavericks continued to make the playoffs but failed to make much noise. In the 2010-11 season, however, they returned to the NBA Finals for a rematch against the Heat, now led by LeBron James. James's Heat were greatly favored in this match-up, but this time it was the Mavericks who were victorious in six games. In 11 years of owning the Mavericks, Cuban had helped take an utterly irrelevant team and develop them into champions.
After that championship season, the Mavericks made the playoffs four of the next five seasons, losing in the first round each time. However, they've missed the playoffs the last two seasons, with season records reminiscent of their pre-Cuban days.
Mark Cuban and "Shark Tank"
Mark Cuban wanted to be a TV star fairly soon after becoming a billionaire. In 2004, he created "The Benefactor," a reality show on ABC where contestants vied to win $1 million from Cuban by showing that they had offbeat skills that could help them succeed in business. However, dismal ratings led to a quick cancellation after one season.
In season 2 of "Shark Tank," the reality show where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of wealthy investors in an attempt to get funding, Mark Cuban began appearing as a panelist. By season 3, he was a full-time panelist. Season 3 is also when the ratings for "Shark Tank" began to improve, and by season 6 the show was averaging over 9 million viewers an episode - nearly double its numbers from the first season.
Cuban has invested in dozens of companies via the show. The largest investment was $2 million, which he put into Ten Thirty One Productions, an entertainment company. It was a 20% stake.
These investments aren't simply for show, either; Cuban has made profits off some of these decisions. The most notable one was that of Rugged Maniac, an obstacle course race. Cuban invested $1.75 million in the organizer. When New Media Investment Group paid $10.4 million for an 80% stake, Cuban, as he did after selling Broadcast.com, sold his stake, basically doubling the investment.
Mark Cuban's House
Cuban moved to Dallas soon after graduating college, became a millionaire there, became a billionaire there and bought the NBA team en route to them winning their first championship. It's no surprise, then, that Cuban has made his residence in the city. More specifically, he has a house in Preston Hollow, a neighborhood as obscenely rich as the name makes it sound. Dirk Nowtizki also lives there, as does former President George W. Bush. The house, a massive 23,676-square-foot home, was ranked by D Magazine as the 17th most expensive home in Dallas, at over $18.6 million.
It's certainly not the only home he owns, either. At the tail end of 2018, Cuban purchased a six-bedroom vacation home in Laguna Beach, California for $19 million. The house, for Cuban, his wife and three kids, is 7,800 square feet and on the grounds of The Montage, a five-star resort near the beach.