The Upper Deck: Mark Cuban and I. Quietly.

Every time the Mavs get some success going, the conversation always turns back to Mark Cuban - even if he's newly unwilling to engage in the conversation himself. We hear all the stories and all the ripping of the owner: 'Mark is too loud, too upfront, too in-your-face,' or so the criticism goes.

True, Mark does not fit the model of the traditional sports owner, the guy who sits in his box, aloof and seemingly indifferent. From time to time standing up, and taking a bow, and giving one of those weird waves like the Queen of England does as she scows down on her underlings.

Nope, Mark is not like that. He is right down there in the trenches with us, willing his team on to win. He is not only financially invested in the team, he is emotionally invested. In fact, he is more emotionally invested than financially invested.

Simply put, he cares. He wants the Mavs to win.

Some critics claim he is too brash and too noisy. (Ironically, when the critics say that, they themselves are being ... brash and noisy.) I think of him as having the single most important trait any individual can have. He has passion.

A German poet, Christian Friedrich Hebbel once said, "Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion."

If I am running a business, I want employees that have passion toward what they are doing. I want them to feel that it is important. I want them to feel good when things go well and to hurt along with me, when things don't. Passion? It is what makes people succeed.

It is usually that passion that makes people great. It is what makes them succeed, the passion, the drive, to overcome obstacles. In every path people trod, there are sometimes things that get in the way.

Randy Pausch called them brick walls, he also said, "The brick walls are there for a reason, they let you prove how much you want things."

Mark Cuban and I both want the Mavericks to win a championship,as they now have a chance to do in these NBA Finals against Miami. I am passionate in the fact I want them to win. I want them so much that sometimes, I think the players don't want it as much as me. Sometimes, I want to see them smash something and bad-mouth a referee, because it would make me feel better to know I am not alone. To know I am not the only one with a stuffed referee doll that I beat the smithereens out of with every bad or even semi-bad call.

In this I share a bond with Mark Cuban.

I have never doubted how much he wants to win. I have never thought, "Mark does not care." I have not always agreed with him, and truthfully on a couple of occasions I thought he got a bit carried away, much in the way I have on a couple of occasions.

Like the time I built a snowman, painted a Timmy Duncan jersey on him, and then beat him to a pulp with a shovel. Yes, I really did.

Passion is, in the words of fictional detective Adrian Monk, a blessing and a curse. It draws the attention of others that would have you become prim and proper. It would have you sit quietly in a box, and not on the sidelines. It would have you politely clap, like an old lady at the opera. But, that is not who I am, and that is not the kind of owner I want running the sports teams I support. I want the owner who is down on the sidelines ranting and raving, slamming their nachos on the ground, and calling the referee an addle-minded, weasel-faced, orangutan.


I want a team owner like me, and that is who Mark Cuban is.

I recently read someone's opinion online that said Mark Cuban was not the type that this particular writer would want to be around his kids, or the type that he would invite over for Thanksgiving dinner. I just wanted to address this unnamed person by saying ... Good! Because Mark is invited to my house for Thanksgiving, and I know we are going to have a heck of a lot more fun. We will put the Trophy next to the turkey. And I even have a special party game planned, "Fling The Giblets at David Stern.''

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