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How Mark Cuban practised what he preached

The billionaire, who asked for a gift of kindness this V-Day, rescued a struggling former basketball star from the streets on September 28.

September 30, 2020 / 10:57 AM IST

Mark Cuban is trending, thanks to an act of kindness towards troubled basketball player Delonte West on September 28. Signs that the once hot-headed billionaire had a softer side were already apparent in statements he made earlier this year. In February, the 61-year-old had said that he wanted nothing but kindness for Valentine’s Day.

A Twitter user had asked Cuban what gift he wanted on the day that celebrates love, warmth and cheesy greeting cards. “Definitely not chocolates,” replied the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

“A nice hello goes a long way. A little kindness, I think that’s what I want.”
In an earlier interview, the ‘Shark Tank’ judge had said, “One of the most underrated skills in business right now is being nice. Nice sells.”

Further on, Cuban, who was fired from a computer company in his 20s, said, “I wouldn’t have wanted to do business with me when I was in my 20s. Early on in my career, I was like bam, bam, bam, bam, bam — I might curse. I might get mad.

“And so I had to change, and I did, and it really paid off.”

On September 28, Cuban rushed to the rescue of West, who was found begging near a highway in Dallas. Cuban picked him up in his Tesla and booked him into a hotel room. He also offered to pay for his rehabilitation.

“I can just confirm that I found him and helped him,” Cuban told The Washington Post. “The rest is up to Delonte and his family to tell.”
West played for the Dallas Mavericks in 2011-12. He grew up poor and started using drugs by the time he was a teenager. In 2008, at age 25, West was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In 2009, West was found carrying three guns while riding his motorcycle and pleaded guilty to weapons charges. He continued to lurch from one ignominy to another, getting beaten up on the street or walking around barefoot and in a bathrobe.

For now, he has Cuban’s eye and sympathy. But he must remember that there is only so much even a wealthy, mellowed mentor can do.

Akshay Sawai
first published: Sep 30, 2020 10:57 am