Is Mark Cuban the NBA's Best Owner, or Just an Overgrown Kid?

Ross Bentley@@imrossbentleySenior Analyst INovember 10, 2012

Nov 7, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban yells at the referees during the game between the Mavericks and the Toronto Raptors at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Raptors 109-104. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Cuban has certainly made his mark on the NBA since he bought a majority stake in the team in the year 2000.

In fact, perhaps no city in the entire country has more famous (or infamous) sports owners than the city of Dallas.

In the MLB, the Texas Rangers (who technically play close by Arlington) used to be owned by Texas Governor and eventual United States President George W. Bush and are now owned by eight-time All-Star and all-time strikeout leader Nolan Ryan.

In the NFL, the most famous owner perhaps in all of sports resides in Dallas. Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is a constant magnet for attention (both positive in negative) for one of the NFL's most storied franchises. 

In the NBA, it is Cuban's turf, and the fact that he has been able to keep up with Ryan and Jones in the headlines speaks volumes about his knack for staying in the spotlight.

Cuban has been no stranger to controversy during his time with the Mavs. He has been fined over $1.5 million for complaining about league policies, which goes along with his long-standing rivalry with NBA commissioner David Stern.

Cuban has also had incidents involving altercations or comments made about several NBA stars, including Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James

However, Cuban has also had his fair share of success as an NBA owner. Few teams have had the record to match Dallas in the last decade, and the Mavericks have made two NBA finals appearances and captured the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2011 under Cuban's reign.

This week, while his Mavericks have jumped out to a 4-2 start without Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup, Cuban has made yet another controversial remark, this time regarding the Los Angeles Lakers.

Over the summer, Cuban publicly wondered whether or not the experiment of the Lakers star-studded lineup would work. Now, after the Lakers fired coach Mike Brown today, Cuban was quoted as saying that he hopes the Lakers made a "huge mistake and keep making them."

That quote is considered tame on the Cuban controversy scale, and it will likely be brushed off by Lakers management. Still, it shows that even after over a decade in the league, an NBA title and aging into his mid-50s, Mark Cuban is still willing to speak his mind at every turn.

Considering the amount of controversy that he causes, but also the amount of wins he racks up, Cuban's view amongst NBA fans is largely divided.

As the article headline entails, some will view him as one of (if not the best) owners in the entire NBA, and he certainly has the track record to back it up.

However, no matter how successful his teams are, many of his critics will say that the team could have been even better over the last decade if Cuban had just learned from his mistakes and kept his mouth shut. They view him as just an overgrown child who brings his team down by sitting courtside and making the games all about him instead of the team on the court.

After all, Cuban was notably silent during the Mavericks' only championship run when they knocked out the Lakers, Thunder and Heat in succession to win the championship just two years ago—which Cuban haters will cite as evidence of the damage he can cause to his team.

The real answer of whether Cuban is the NBA's best, or just an overgrown child, probably lies somewhere between the two, but it's hard not to be on one side or the other regarding Cuban. 

As a fan of the Mavericks, I have always appreciated one thing above all else with Mark Cuban: He cares about his team and he cares about winning.

I will take an abrasive owner who gets fined every once and a while if he is going to put the time and money in to make sure that year in and year out, the team has an opportunity to win an NBA championship. 

Only the San Antonio Spurs have a longer active playoff streak than the Mavericks (12 seasons), and Cuban is largely to thank for their success. 

Having said that, there are certainly times when I wish that Cuban would keep quiet and do his work from behind the scenes. There have been games, and occasionally entire seasons, where Cuban has out-shined the entire team, and his presence has, at times, taken away from the team's potential.

With Cuban, you get what you get, and although he may seem childish at times, his success would indicate that he leans closer to the best owner mark than the other end of the spectrum.

His doubters will likely never go away, and many of the criticisms of him are completely valid. Still, Cuban is what many owners in sports don't seem to be nowadays, and that is a guy who is passionate about his franchise, and realistically, that is all that fans can ask out of an NBA owner.