How fitting was it that Dirk Nowitzki hit a fall away 18-footer as time expired in overtime to give Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks a thrilling 115-113 victory over the Bucks on Monday night? Nowitzki, of course, was drafted by the Bucks in 1998 and traded to Dallas on draft night for Robert "Tractor" Traylor. Cuban, who kicked off the first session of the new Milwaukee Bucks' speakers' series on Monday night, immediately thanked and pimped the crowd at Turner Hall saying, "where is Tractor Traylor now, (think) that was the guy who parked my car outside." Ouch.
Anyway, all Nowitzki irony aside, I truly enjoyed hearing Mark Cuban speak on Monday night. I remember talking to Bucks marketing VP Jim Grayson a few years ago about bringing Cuban into speak before a game. Selfishly, I wanted to meet him but bigger picture, I'm glad the Bucks have launched their new speakers series. It's a creative way to bring fans and soon-to-be fans closer to the people that make the NBA and sports exciting.
Cuban, 51, is not only a bit a role model for me but he's an entertaining, creative and passionate guy who I've always wanted to meet. Thanks to the Bucks, I got that chance.
He didn't need much of an introduction on Monday night so the Bucks Jim Paschke kept it short and sweet. Then, Cuban took the stage. Dressed in a Maverick's tee shirt and jeans, he kicked things off talking about his appearance on "Dancing with the Stars." He said Turner Hall reminded him of the set. Then, instead of rambling on for his allotted time, he just opened it up for questions. The crowd soaked it in launching questions on everything from education, the NBA, media, management, Twitter and more.
Here's a snap shot of some of the best quotes from the evening:
-His most important thing in business? "Sales cure all." Another tip, "never over negotiate a deal."
-On his kid's media use. His 3 year-old comfortably uses an itouch for games and content. And, even though Cuban doesn't use an iphone, he has a new puzzle application and he creatively plugged. It's here.
-On why a young billionaire like himself wanted to buy a sports team. "Because I can." This was great; he then went on to talk about his passion for the game and how he's just having a blast owning the team.
-On the future of media he said the Internet has become "utilitarian," and that hot applications like Twitter and Facebook are great communication devices. He admitted that a recent critical Tweet of an NBA official not only got him fined but "an additional 25,000 followers." He encourages players to use social media and noted, "it worked" for former Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva. Cuban's a fan of local media and the Mavs pay for the Dallas Morning News' Mavericks beat writer to fly on the team play. It's a creative partnership that helps the team get more hyper local coverage of the team in Dallas. "We are doing things like having beat writers travel with us to reduce their costs," he said. Follow Cuban on Twitter here.
-Cuban didn't discuss Google. But, his blog has some very interesting thoughts. See it here.
-On what the NBA and Bucks need to do. Like all businesses, "control our costs." He continued, "f we can control our costs as a league, I think Milwaukee is a very viable city for the NBA with or without a new arena."
-On the Bucks rising star Brandon Jennings. "The Bucks drafted smart. He's going to be really, really good."
-On who he'd like to come back as after he's died. "I tell my Dad this, I'd come back as me."
-On "what's next?" "Personalized medicine." He talked, in depth, about this emerging area saying that his kids will someday find it odd that every one "back then" took the same medications for similar illness. Personalize medicine and prescriptions; he thinks are the future of health care.
-On what to focus on in college. "Learn how to learn."
I got to ask Cuban about his thoughts about media (see above) and my standard question that I ask all people I interview, "what's your definition of success?" He talked for nearly five minutes on success, hard work, fun and passion. For Cuban, it's "getting out of bed every day and having fun." He's a workaholic and genuinely seems to have fun each and every day.
For this fan, it was great to hear Cuban speak and get a photo snapped with him. I'm now looking forward to future events in the Bucks speaker's series. Stayed tuned for the next announcement, I'll bring it to you when the Bucks release it.
And, finally, Mark (if you're reading) if you ever need media or Web development services in Dallas, OnMilwaukee.com is here to help! Just give me a call. In the meantime, I'm rooting for the Mavs in the West. But, should the Bucks and Mavs meet in the NBA Finals, I'm sticking with my hometown team.
Downtowner | Nov. 18, 2009 at 2:21 p.m. (report)
Cuban has it right. It's a new day for content, and sales has to drive the company -- so, why not fund a writer and not control content.
It's a new way of thinking, but in an age where blogs and Twitter get good and bad news out immediately, teams need more voices.
Also found this: Cuban thinks that major sports leagues could fund a beat writers cooperative, hiring reporters who would provide daily content to local news sites and papers in exchange for guaranteed space.
He based the idea on the premise that declining coverage costs teams fans and, in the long run, money. While he said he has ramped up content on the team Web site, that site is visited predominantly by the most avid Mavs fans, who are easiest to reach. The more difficult-to-reach consumer, the casual fan, grazes at the local newspapers sports site and print section.
As that coverage shrinks, so does a teams profile.
There is little depth and certainly not the consistent coverage, Cuban wrote on his blog. Teams in every league need as much local coverage as we can get. The more stories are written by sportswriters and columnists, the more opportunities for fans to connect and stay connected to our teams.
Cuban conceded that his suggestion would require a dismantling of the accepted journalistic division between church and state.
But the imperiled news and newspaper industries have abandoned other canons of late, so perhaps its not so far-fetched to think it (and other media) would ditch one more.
Newsie | Nov. 18, 2009 at 2:20 p.m. (report)
And lest you forget, the Chicago Tribune owned (and still sorta does own) the Cubs. Almost makes you feel bad for White Sox fans.
Newspapah | Nov. 18, 2009 at 2:05 p.m. (report)
Newspapers and other media embedded their reporters with troops, creating relationships that make it almost impossible to retain any objectivity. There's a reason it sounds a lot like "in bed" -ed. That kind of coverage of a war worries me considerably more than whether or not a basketball game story is "fair."
@Blaine There's no more conflict of interest than a newspaper or news website employing an ombudsman to keep the paper honest. For most pro sports teams, the beat writer(s) travel on the team plane at the expense of the team. I agreed with Cuban, I think this is the way of the future with the ongoing cuts at newspapers...if pro sports teams want to have coverage in the media.
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