People tend to make fun of -- or even hate -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. We have no idea why. Really, he seems like the best owner in the history of sports. He's also the only owner of a major franchise who has ever participated in a Q&A with us. This might have clouded our thinking. In any event, here is a Q&A that ran more than five years ago, a little over a month before the Mavs lost to the Heat in the NBA finals. We found the symmetry to be compelling. Also, it remains one of the most fun interviews we've done:

Q - I enjoy reading your blog, primarily because it is far more
frank than a lot of other ones out there done by people "in the
spotlight." What is your motivation for writing it, and do you ever
worry about letting the public too far into your thoughts?

A - It's a chance for me to take a stand on issues, whether in
sports, technology, media or entertainment, which I enjoy. It's
also an opportunity for me to throw out ideas and get feedback,
which can be very valuable from a business perspective. Finally,
it's a great antidote to media and interviews. Since I do all my
interviews by e-mail, it keeps reporters honest knowing I can post
an entire e-mail thread.

Q - You seem to have a polarizing personality - I hear equal
parts "I wish Mark Cuban would just shut up" and " Mark Cuban is the
best." Why do you think people have such strong reactions toward you?

A - Some people pay attention to content and some people pay
attention to sound bites. Usually the sports sound bites aren't
complimentary, but it's all some people need to form an opinion of
me. I'm fine either way.

Q - Earlier this season, you called Phil Jackson your "bucket
boy." Where does that rank on your personal highlight list?

A - It's not a highlight, but it was fun.

Q - Speaking of poking fun, you have also prodded the
commissioner more than a few times - and paid the fines to prove
it. How would you describe the relationship between yourself and
Mr. Stern?

A - We get along great. He knows that I work harder than any
other owner to understand the intricacies of the NBA from a
financial and operational standpoint, and that can only lead to
positives. I'm not always as patient as he would like, but I also
think he realizes that when I uncover things that hadn't been
considered, challenge conventional wisdom or offer new ideas, even
if I push hard or publicly, good things happen. All of that is good
for the NBA, our customers and fans.

Q - Not counting the Maloof brothers in Sacramento, do you think
you have more fun than any other NBA owner?

A - It's not even close. And Joe and Gavin are in the running
only because they own the hottest casino in Vegas and hang out with
starlets who drink cosmopolitans by the bucket.

Q - Does it make any sense to you that the Clippers, by virtue of
losing to the Grizzlies and finishing with a worse record, were
rewarded by having home-court advantage against the Nuggets while
Memphis had to go on the road against your Mavs?

A - Of course not. That rule will be changed. You never want the
incentive of losing in the NBA. It's the reason why the draft
lottery was changed to a weighted lottery.

Q - You made an impassioned plea for Dirk Nowitzki to win this
year's MVP award. Politicking aside, was this year's race as wide
open as any you've seen for a while?

A - Without question. The entire league is as wide open as any
season for years. Any number of teams could play Cinderella and win
it all.

Q - One of the main criticisms of the NBA from many people,
including myself, is that it often feels like players are just
going through the motions until the fourth quarter. What are your
thoughts on the matter?

A - That's crazy. If you think Kevin Garnett or Dirk Nowitzki is
waiting until the fourth quarter to turn it on, you haven't seen
the things I have at halftime. Guys in pain with tears rolling down
their cheeks, getting retaped just to get back in the game, getting
sick and throwing up and getting back up and going back in the
game. Ninety-nine percent of the players in the league have
incredible amounts of pride and competitive spirit. The ones who
don't find themselves bouncing from team to team until they are out
of the league. Coaches, owners, fans and GMs won't tolerate lack of effort.

Q - You were an executive producer of "Good Night, and Good
Luck," a terrific film in this writer's humble opinion. How did you
get involved with that project?

A - George Clooney came to my partner and asked if we would
finance it. We brought in Jeff Skoll and the three of us financed
and produced the film. It was an amazing project by an amazing guy.
George doesn't get the credit he deserves. We have another great
movie coming out called "Akeelah and the Bee." And we also have
"One Last Thing."

Q - Finally, and I'm sure you get tired of this, but it seems
every online biography of you mentions how you worked your way
through college by giving disco dancing lessons. I think that would
be one of the greatest jobs ever. Was it?

A - Let's put it this way: I couldn't find a single thing wrong
with getting paid $25 an hour to teach sorority girls how to dance.
Bring back disco

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