Mark Cuban in GQ

The quirky Dallas Mavs owner and HDTV pioneer (and fellow Hoosier) gives a freewheeling interview in this month's issue to Deadspin editor Will Leitch. Worthy excerpts:

When the scandal over referee gambling broke, everyone came to you, since you’ve always been so vocal in criticizing the referees. They were expecting you to say, “See, I knew this was happening.” And you didn’t. Why not?
Well, I did know it was happening, but what was the point? If you’ve been saying it all along, there’s no point in repeating it. I mean, look at the way the media handled Barry Bonds. They never pay attention to the fact that no one in government ever gets fired for trying to put a skin on the wall. They’ll only get promoted—other than Nifong from Duke.

Nifong was an extreme case.
It wasn’t an extreme case. He was just stupid enough to drive it in the media with his own name. You don’t know the guys behind the Barry Bonds investigation. You don’t know that someone’s not saying, “If I can only get Barry Bonds, I’ll be the stud in this government office.” Barry Bonds can’t sue the person who’s trying to make him a poster child. To spend however many years of government money to prove something that happened four years ago—what does it accomplish for the American people?

It sounds like you’re taking this personally.
Well, I’m a target, too. Like Barry Bonds. The most disgusting thing in the world is how much money I pay to lawyers. I get audited every year, and if you saw some of the things that the IRS said to me, you would think we’re living in a Communist country. I even had someone who worked for a government agency accuse me of throwing the playoff series with the Warriors last year. It’s ridiculous. I can afford it, so it’s okay, but it’s kind of sad.

Do you consider yourself libertarian?
Absolutely.

I take it you’re supporting Ron Paul, then.
No. I just don’t think he’s a legitimate candidate at this point in time. It’s interesting and fun to watch the Internet support he gets, and I like conceptually a lot of the things he says, but I wouldn’t vote for him.

I like this, too:

What do you think about college sports? You’re a Big Ten alum, yes? Any plans to do something for Indiana?
People always ask me if I’m going to be building a new assembly hall for them, and the answer is: No chance. Of all the places you can put your money, it’s not the most effective place. I’m a huge IU basketball fan, but I’m also a critic of the NCAA student-athlete hypocrisy. If I had my druthers, I’d find four colleges and create a conference that’s sort of a Juilliard for sports. I’d say, “Okay, Indiana, North Carolina, Duke, and SMU: I’m going to give all your programs $100 million, plus $25 million a year to withdraw from the NCAA, and we’re going to pay athletes to play for these schools. We’re going to call it NBA 101; we’re going to bring in the best coaches. We’re going to emulate the best music schools across the world and apply it to what athletes want to do.” It’d be just like now, how you can go to IU to be the best musician you can be, and if you want to work for the New York Philharmonic in the summer and get paid for it, you can.

I think it'd be an even better idea for football.

It's probably appropriate that Leitch asked Cuban about Ron Paul. There are some similarities. Both are generally forces for good, with some occasional eccentricities and bouts of nuttiness. But I'd be quite happy with more politicians like Paul, and more tycoons like Cuban.

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  • the innominate one||

    why schools? why corrupt the academic environment? just start a minor league system.

  • ||

    Hey, guys? Can we try another adjective to give "freewheeling" a brief rest? Wide-ranging? Loosy-goosy? Wild-and-crazy? Gonzo? Rip-snortin'?

  • ||

    I'd rather have Mark Cuban speak for on behalf of my beliefs than Ron Paul.

  • ||

    I'm pretty much where Cuban's at re Paul.

  • MK2||

    "I'd be quite happy with more politicians like Paul..."

    Yeah, more politicians who are willing to exploit racism to raise money--that's what we need. Fuck!

  • ||

    Is Mark Cuban, by any chance, nuts?

  • ||

    I like Cuban's Mavericks (or rather Dirk).

    I do think the NCAA is an oppresive agency, and an intersting one for the hard core libertarians: it's technically a voluntary organization, yet it really decreases freedom in this area. The hard core libertarian does his calculus and says "it's not government, must be good." The more flexible one says "does this combination promote or decrease freedom of more people?"

    The latter are probably in the minority...

  • Franklin Harris||

    why schools? why corrupt the academic environment?



    You say that as if it isn't already corrupted by the black market the NCAA's rules create.

  • Franklin Harris||

    I do think the NCAA is an oppresive agency, and an intersting one for the hard core libertarians: it's technically a voluntary organization, yet it really decreases freedom in this area.



    And the vast majority of the NCAA's member institutions are state-run universities. Plenty of government involvement here.

    A far better example of a private-yet-oppressive institution is the MPAA, although certainly the threat of government censorship helps the MPAA's ratings board retain power.

  • the innominate one||

    Franklin Harris: no, I'd like to get rid of the NCAA also. Pretty much collegiate athletics in their current form would be eliminated, were I elected your benign dictator.

  • penxv||

    Mark Cuban is going to save mixed martial arts. I can't help but like him.

  • ||

    I don't know. Is Mark Cuban nuts?

  • ||

    e're going to pay athletes to play for these schools. We're going to call it NBA 101

    It exists, it's called the NBADL. I agree with the statement above, why mix it with academics at all?

  • ||

    Franklin-Good point about the MPAA. I also recognize your point about the government shadow effecting the power of the MPAA...

    I do think that while many participants in the NCAA are public U's it's interesting that the NCAA itself is rarely held to be a "state actor" and can therefore get away with much more f*cking of its members and the poor students than usual.

  • ||

    Cuban 2012.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Pretty much collegiate athletics in their current form would be eliminated, were I elected your benign dictator.



    Just so long as you get rid of the designated hitter while you're at it.

  • ||

    I think when you have his money, you can no longer be considered nuts. He might be eccentric, though.

  • BloodyMaryBreakfast||

    Is Mark Cuban's vote more statistically relevant than any other? Seems he's business smart and mathematically weak.

  • Franklin Harris||

    I do think that while many participants in the NCAA are public U's it's interesting that the NCAA itself is rarely held to be a "state actor" and can therefore get away with much more f*cking of its members and the poor students than usual.



    That's true, but I'm thinking of the NCAA's perverse incentives. NCAA board members are (I think) mostly presidents of state universities, appointed to those positions by governors and confirmed by state legislatures. When it comes to how they behave in their NCAA capacities, they're going to be responsive to the demands of the people who put them in their jobs in the first place, certainly not to the student athletes or the fans.

  • Franklin Harris||

    Is Mark Cuban's vote more statistically relevant than any other? Seems he's business smart and mathematically weak.



    Given the statistical relevance of any vote, we might as well all stay home.

  • the innominate one||

    Franklin Harris, I know little of this "designated hitter rule" of which you speak, but in exchange for your vote for me for benign dictator, it shall be eliminated.

  • ||

    Hey joe. The simple answer is yes. Mark is very sharp and he's a good guy who has led an interesting life. But once he's got a wrong idea in his head, there is no shaking it out of him.

  • ||

    Cuban, like most successful entrepreneurs and capitalists, is more "anti-Republican" than anything else. The wing-nuts who shout "socialism" at people like Warren Buffett, George Soros, and Bill Gates usually are in the 40-70k income bracket and have been duped by the GOP into voting against their interests.

  • Warmongering Lunatic||

    Shrike, if you don't want the Democrats to be painted as socialists, it would help if you (and Thomas Frank) didn't use barely-disguised Marxist rhetoric about false consciousness.

  • ||

    War-Lunatic, I don't disguise my (Ayn Rand) rhetoric. I am a rationalist/atheist/capitalist who recognizes the demon that the GOP has become - Christo-Fascists bent on permanent war and abusing the government to game the markets for profit.

    You probably worship this beast. Free enterprise is no longer part of the GOP nomenclature. The Medicare Prescription Welfare Act did it for me - with its blatant price-fixing and taxpayer extortion.

    You may lie in the GOP filth and call it perfume but if you do you must be one of the duped masses that I just called out.

  • Kolohe||

    Rich people are eccentric, they are never nuts.

  • Kolohe||

    That said, Cuban makes a whole lot of sense, at least in the excerpts posted above.

  • Kolohe||

    Dammit didn't see gmbmd above

  • former NBA fan||

    Nope, he's not nuts. Just a total douchebag. A douchebag who likes lots and lots of attention.

  • Warmongering Lunatic||

    If you think talking about "duped masses" is Randian, you have pretty low reading comprehension skills. To be persistently and consistently duped into acting against one's own interests, one must persistently and consistently refuse to think for oneself. That, of course, is the cardinal sin of Objectivism. To reject the responsibility to think is to deliberately choose death, because the mind is the method by which man survives. Rand would not call such voters duped, she would call them accomplices in crime.

    On the other hand, the idea that masses are victims, deceived by the powers-that-be into opposing their own self-interest, is straight from the pen of Karl Marx; it is the socialist doctrine of "false consciousness", and was the excuse made for Soviet repression. Marxist, too is the telltale obsession with class marked by your mentioning of the "40-70k income bracket". If you really are a Randian, you would work to rid yourself of these vestiges of Marxism that have infected your thought.

    Further to the point, you should recall that Ayn Rand endorsed Nixon. You know, the guy who escalated things in Indochina, started the War on Drugs, instituted wage and price controls, made permanent Johnson's Great Society programs, and whose surveillance of American citizens make the NSA intercepts look like a model of respect for civil liberties? The GOP hasn't suddenly become a demon; it's rather less of one than it was when Rand gave it grudging and reluctant support.

    That doesn't necessarily mean the GOP is today more worthy than today's Democrats; the Democrats are better now than they were then, too; which is worse is a matter for careful thought. But it does mean what you're saying is completely disconnected from reality.

    But don't take my word for it. Look all this up. Think it through. Connect yourself to reality, not fantasies.

  • Putting the I back into Object||

    I've read Atlas Shrugged 37 times and even I think you need to get a life.

  • ||

    Oh, Benign dictator, for my vote you must dispose of Gary Bettman in addition to ridding us of the DH.

  • the innominate one||

    Nick - I'll have to run it by Urkobold and Zod first. I'm not sure where they stand on Bettman.

  • stuartl||

    "...you must be one of the duped masses..."

    Beautiful.

  • ||

    What kind of a dictator are you? At least kneecap him for me.

  • ||

    I'll have to run it by Urkobold and Zod first. I'm not sure where they stand on Bettman.

    My guess is, just above, and to the left, of his liver.

  • ||

    After reading this, I hope that Mark "Cosmotarian" Cuban doesn't buy the Cubs after all...

  • the innominate one||

    Nick, I'm a candidate for benign dictator. You want a malign dictator. That malign dictator is Zod. Kneel before Zod!

  • ||

    Is Mark Cuban, by any chance, nuts?

    Yes. Of course, that doesn't preclude genius.

  • Robert||

    why schools? why corrupt the academic environment? just start a minor league system.


    It's because, as Walter Olson explained to me, schools have tax advantages as not-for-profit do-good organiz'ns. That's why schools have outcompeted minor leagues in every sport but baseball.

    I've followed minor league adult football, men's & women's, for decades, but it's decidedly a taste of only a tiny minority. Between the majors and schools, there remain only crumbs in terms of support for the rest of football.

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