Beyond Business & Basketball: A Look at Mark Cuban

Many people, especially us Texans, are very familiar with Mark Cuban, but the owner of the Mavericks and investor on the show Shark Tank (among many other things) rarely discusses his interests outside of sports and business, so I figured I’d ask him.

For a man who seems to do/has done it all, Cuban was not only easy to reach, he also replied to my email within a few hours, which is a rarity from anyone, let alone a multi-billionaire.  Maybe it shouldn’t be very surprising because, as anyone who has watched a Mavs game or followed him on Twitter, Cuban isn’t exactly shy.  (Just for the record, the NBA has fined him nearly two million dollars since he bought the Mavericks in 2000.)

Cuban’s business career started early: when he was twelve he sold garbage bags door-to-door to buy a pair of basketball shoes. Those shoes didn’t get him to the Mavericks, but I think he’s okay with where he ended up.

Many college students work to help pay for their education, but, like everything else about him, Cuban’s work experience at Indiana University stands out: he sold stamps, started a chain letter, bartended, and – get this – gave disco lessons to sorority girls.  I asked him about his rather unorthodox job: “Seriously, you have to ask? Would you take $25 an hour to go teach sororities how to do line dances?”

Unfortunately for him, Cuban told me that his previous mastery of disco didn’t help him with his stint on Dancing with the Stars; he was eliminated in the fifth week.

When I asked Cuban about his music interests, he directed me to his AXS TV, a network that focuses on live music.  Surprisingly, when I asked him about his favorite music, he named Skrillex, 12th Planet, and Swedish House Mafia.

Always marketing, Cuban said he doesn’t watch much television “after @AXSTV, SharkTank and The Mavs.

For someone so involved in so many things, Cuban has seemingly infinite amounts of energy.  He told me, “I’m not all that stressful. I tend to find the fun in what I do.”  But he did add, “Cocktails help too :)”

Oh, yeah.  Speaking of cocktails, during the summer before his senior year at Indiana University, Cuban opened a bar, Motley’s.  (My summers are almost that productive.)  He said that the bar did great business “until we got busted for letting a 16-year-old win a wet t-shirt contest (I swear I checked her ID, and it was good!).”

In the end, Mark Cuban is more than a businessman, an investor, the owner of the Mavericks and a multi-billionaire.  He’s a dubstep-listening, garbage-bag-selling, bartending disco dance instructor.

I guess he’s done okay for himself.