x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Outspoken Cuban shows true sporting behaviour

When it came time to receive the NBA trophy on Sunday night, one of the most outspoken owners in professional sports declined to centre stage.

MIAMI // Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks is one of the most outspoken owners in professional sports. But when it came time to receive the NBA trophy on Sunday night, he declined to centre stage.

Instead, Cuban stepped back and stood behind 78-year-old Donald Carter, the man who founded the Mavericks 31 years ago.

Not much later, though, out came the Mark Cuban that most fans recognise.

He swore in multiple television interviews to emphasise how proud he was of his fans. He walked into a news conference talking on the phone, hung up and yelled, "Did anybody inform you guys, we're the world champions?!" On his way out, he took the trophy with him and declared it was spending the night in his room.

Meet the new Mark Cuban - humble one moment, back to his raucous roots the next.

"You know, I probably won't even shower for six months," Cuban said. "My biggest fear is that I can't remember every little part of it, every emotion, every feeling that I went through as the clock was winding down. ... I was just hoping I could just do an emotional videotape of myself and just keep it."

He spoke with a voice scratchy from screaming and choked with emotion. He complimented his players for having "so much heart, so much determination and so much more than that."

"I love every one of them," he said.

A pivotal moment in getting to this point came last summer, at Cuban's house. Dirk Nowitzki was a free agent and he wanted Cuban's vow that if he re-signed, the owner would keep the core of the team intact and find the pieces needed to make them champions.

He did, and they did.

"I give Mark a lot of credit," Nowitzki said. "He stuck with me through thick and thin. He brought all the right players always in, always trying to spend money and make this organization better and this team better. So Mark is the best."