May 26, 2011 BY John Kim
On January 4th, 2000, a billionaire entrepreneur named Mark Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks, a struggling franchise entrenched in a blight of perennial losing seasons. With no light at the end of the tunnel,Cuban directed the Mavericks to the NBA Finals in just six years, the first in franchise history, earning a reputation as one of most supportive and dedicated owners in professional sports. At the same time, Cuban has not had a smooth relationship with the NBA front office, as he’s incurred more than $1.5 million in fines for incidents involving referees and league officials, with the most notable of Cuban’s outcries stemming from that 2006 Finals series – one that Tim Donaghy claimed was fixed in favor of Miami Heat.
Since that controversial series, Mark Cuban has wheeled and dealed and continued to spend while sticking his head in nearly every big-name free agent/trade discussion. Amidst criticism from so-called NBA experts and fans from around the league especially after losing to Golden State in the first round of the Playoffs in 2007, Cuban continued to trust and build around his superstar Dirk Nowitzki in an unflinching manner, and his devotion has clearly paid off the Mavericks easily defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games and have earned a second trip to the NBA Finals. Two-time scoring champ Kevin Durant have been sent home early, but the future is as bright as ever for the Thunder, so expect them back in the 2012 Finals mix. A rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals looks to be in the books, so stay tuned to Sneaker News for more 2011 NBA Playoff updates as we approach the Finals! via Yahoo!.