Ever heard of a guy named Micky Arison? I didn't know who he was until I looked it up. Just so happens he's the owner of the Miami Heat. Know what he looks like? Me neither. Would he have made a public appearance had the Heat won the NBA title? Beats me.
Most owners of professional sports teams are billionaires and, near as I can tell, it must be in the blue-blood by-laws that once a person has that much wealth, it's mandatory they become a recluse. Sure, there are exceptions, but generally, they don't associate much with their teams, much less us low-life hoi-polloi, the fans. Normally, they'll have a team president to oversee the entire operation, a general manager to negotiate contracts, trades, free agents, and the like, and regular managers or coaches to handle the actual players at the field/court/ice level. The point is -- mostly it's a snooty bunch that somehow think they're above it all. And maybe they are. I wouldn't know. I've never been a billionaire to see how it feels. Hell, by the time I get done paying my bills every month, I'm lucky if I'm a thousandaire. For that matter, after a certain court proceeding that starts with a D a few years back, I was a gaspforair. But I digress.
Love him or hate him, Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA champ Dallas Mavericks, is most definitely an exception. He goes to a LOT of games. Further, you won't find him in some luxury suite behind tinted glass, wearing a suit and tie, and trying to impress a few high-rolling businesspeople, while ignoring the game. Far from it. He's down there a couple rows back from his team in a sweatshirt or jersey, ball cap, and tennis shoes rooting them on. He'll hug his players, and even argue with the referees to the point where he's been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. Can you imagine William Clay Ford, owner of the Lions, going nose to nose with a football official over a holding call at Ford Field, or Mike Ilitch, owner of the Tigers, getting into a spit-flying rhubarb with a baseball umpire at Comerica Park? Me neither. Ain't gonna happen.
The name "Mavericks" is perfect for a team Cuban owns, because that's exactly what he is. It's not like Tom Cruise playing "Maverick" in Top Gun. That was only make-believe. This dude's for real.
Now he gets to hold a parade in Dallas. If it were any other owner, that would likely consist of marching bands, the players waving at the crowd from atop fancy floats, and the usual stuff parades are made of. With this guy, who knows, but I'm betting it will be worth watching. Maybe he'll have the players riding elephants, circus style. I wouldn't put it past him. Hate to be the guy that had to clean up after that, tho. When an elephant has a need, it's a big one. Ahem.
Plus he's already said he's going to forego the usual championship rings because he has something else in mind. Cars, boats, solid gold basketballs, tropical islands? Your guess is as good as mine.
Yet it's ironic. Past and present players, coaches, reporters, and the talking heads constantly mention the importance of winning a "ring". Now the Mavericks are champions and it appears they won't be getting one.
Whatever Cuban has in mind as a replacement -- it better be good.
I suppose when you're a maverick billionaire you can do things like that.
This could get interesting.