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News » Mavs owner gives a Tweet Cuban meets fans at speakers' series

Mavs owner gives a Tweet Cuban meets fans at speakers' series

Mavs owner gives a Tweet  Cuban meets fans at speakers' series By DON WALKER

In January, Mark Cuban will mark his 10th year as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

Not coincidentally, it also will mark the 10th year Cuban has been writing checks to the National Basketball Association for speaking out and acting up.

In some cases, he told a rapt audience of fans at Turner Hall for the inaugural session of the Milwaukee Bucks' speakers' series, the fines were worth the price of doing business as the owner of a successful NBA franchise.

Take Twitter, for instance. Cuban was trying to figure out the quickest way to measure the impact of Twitter, the micro-blogging service, and see how many followers he could draw.

Solution? Criticize an official with a well-timed and pointed Tweet.

Cuban got what he wanted. The league fined him. But to Cuban, he found the social media tool was worth keeping and worth building.

Cuban confessed to being a little antsy in the Turner Hall setting but quickly warmed to questions from the mostly young crowd that wanted to hear why a billionaire would want to own a sports franchise ("Because I can"); the most important thing in business ("Sales cure all"); what college students should do ("Learn how to learn, and you need to have fun and enjoy yourself."); and his business philosophy ("All you have to do is be right once.").

Wearing a Mavericks shirt, Cuban shared thoughts about Basketball and the league. Cuban said:

* Brandon Jennings, the Milwaukee Bucks' 20-year-old phenomenon, is "going to be really, really good." The Bucks , he said, "drafted smart."

* The Bucks and other small-market teams in the NBA can remain viable if the league can do a good job of marketing and "controlling our costs." While Cuban said he could not be specific about the Bucks' financial challenges, he said U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), the Bucks' owner, was a committed owner.

* He maintains relationships with some of his players but is cognizant that the NBA is a business. "The hardest thing to do is fire people," Cuban said.

* There are rules for using Twitter, Facebook and other media, but the players "have to make their own decisions." Such social media, he said, are no different from standing in front of a television camera or speaking into a microphone.

Cuban also got in a friendly dig to the Bucks' fans, making reference to the infamous transaction in 1998 when the Bucks selected Dirk Nowitzki but traded his draft rights to the Mavericks for Robert Traylor. Nowitzki has been a star with the Mavericks since.

"Where is Tractor Traylor now?" Cuban said to laughter.

Bucks' officials say they are working to bring in more speakers to meet with fans before selected home games.

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

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Added: November 18, 2009


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