Since Mark Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 4, 2000, the face of the organization has changed dramatically.
Under his leadership, the team’s home games have become more than just an ordinary NBA event – they have become a total entertainment experience. That party atmosphere he helped instill, with the return of the “Reunion Rowdies”, has carried over into the creation of the “Mavericks ManiAACs” at American Airlines Center.
Cuban’s whatever-it-takes attitude and commitment to winning has grabbed everyone’s attention. From his first introduction to the team to the end of his first season as owner, the players responded with a 31-19 record, including a 9-1 mark in April.
The organization’s upward trend has continued since. Dallas has won at least 50 games in 12 of the last 18 seasons and has advanced to the NBA Playoffs in 15 of the last 18 years.
In 2006-07, the Mavericks won a franchise-high 67 games and posted the NBA’s sixth-best record in history. Dallas won 60 games in 2002-03 and 2005-06, advancing to the Western Conference Finals in both seasons. The Mavericks made the franchise’s first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2006 and again in 2011, winning the World Championship vs. the Miami Heat.
Cuban has been successful in bringing a sense of pride and passion to Mavericks fans – presenting himself as the ultimate role model, cheering from the same seats he has had for many seasons. He is the first owner in team sports to encourage fan interaction through e-mail. It was through this personal touch that fans throughout the Metroplex, and around the world, began to notice Cuban’s energetic personality and take notice of the Mavericks. He has personally responded to hundreds of thousands of e-mails and several suggestions from fans have led to innovative changes.
Prior to his purchase of the Mavericks in January 2000, Cuban co-founded Broadcast.com, the leading provider of multimedia and streaming on the Internet. Broadcast.com was sold to Yahoo! Inc. in July of 1999. MicroSolutions, a leading national systems integrator, was co-founded by Cuban and partner Martin Woodall in 1983 and later sold to CompuServe.
A graduate of Indiana University, Cuban hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and resides in Dallas, Texas with his family.
One of the most respected minds in the NBA, Donnie Nelson is involved in every aspect of the Mavericks basketball operations. Nelson, who owns 22 years of NBA experience, came to Dallas on Jan. 2, 1998 after three seasons as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns.Nelson was instrumental in rebuilding a team that suffered a decade-long playoff draught into a perennial playoff team and championship contender. Under Nelson the Mavericks have won 66.0% of their games with three 60+ win seasons, including a franchise-record 67-win season in 2007 which tied for the sixth best record in NBA history. The Mavericks are also one of just six NBA franchises to win 60 games or more three times in a five year span. During his tenure, the Mavericks have made the playoffs seven consecutive seasons, been to the Western Conference Finals twice, reached a franchise milestone in 2006 when they advanced to the NBA Finals, and won their first Division Title in 20 years in 2007.Nelson successfully coached the Mavericks while his father and former head coach Don Nelson was recovering from cancer surgery in 2000-01. Donnie led the team to a 15-8 record while serving as head coach. He was the top assistant to his father at Golden State, where he served the organization a total of eight seasons (1986-94). Nelson was also a regional scout for the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons (1984-86).Since 1990, Nelson has served as an assistant coach for the Lithuanian National Team. In that span, he has helped them win three bronze medals in four Olympiads, a silver medal in the 1995 European Championships and a gold medal in the 2003 European Championships. In appreciation of his contributions, Nelson was awarded the Grand Cross of the Commander by the President of Lithuania in 2004. He also serves as Honorary Ambassador for the League of Industries.In 1994, Nelson proudly served as a scout for USA Basketball at the World Championships in Toronto. Dream Team II went undefeated on their way to capturing a gold medal that year.Nelson’s tireless efforts helped crack two walls that once seemed unbreakable. He was responsible for signing the first player from both the Soviet Union (Sarunas Marciulionis) and China (Wang Zhizhi) to NBA contracts. In addition, Nelson holds the honor of being the only American coach to participate in a Soviet National training camp. On June 24, 1998, Nelson engineered a deal that brought a relatively unknown German and an unheralded Canadian to Dallas. Both Dirk Nowitzki (2007) and Steve Nash (2005, 2006) would go on to be named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, giving the Mavericks the distinction of being the only team in history to acquire two future MVPs in the same transaction.”Donnie has been my biggest supporter from day one,” said seven-time NBA All-Star and 2007 MVP Dirk Nowitzki. “He works harder than any coach or president in the NBA. He thinks about basketball 24 hours a day.”Nelson also serves as the Chief Advisor for the Chinese National Basketball Team. During his three years of service, they equaled their all-time best Olympic finish (8th) in Athens and won the Gold Medal at the 2005 and 2007 Asian Championships. He is currently working with the Chinese Basketball Association in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Nelson’s first exposure to the continent of Africa took place in 1992. He has conducted clinics in North Africa, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa. Nelson is especially proud to be associated with the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in Africa. This outreach program provides educational opportunities to challenged African athletes. The Mavericks roster currently boasts two African-born players.Nelson founded the “Global Games” in Dallas, which gives area high school kids a chance to test themselves against the top Junior National Teams in the world. The games completed their eighth season this past summer.In Dec., 2002, Nelson’s heart for disadvantaged youth led to the creation of the Assist Youth Foundation which has since combined with the charity organization known as Heroes. The foundation’s goal is to advance opportunities for underprivileged kids in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and across the globe.A 1986 graduate of Wheaton College (Ill.) , Nelson was inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor on Oct. 3, 1997. He led Wheaton in scoring and was an NABC All-Midwest selection. Born Sept. 10, 1962, he and his wife, Lotta, have a daughter, Christie (8/10/92) and son, D.J. (5/24/94).
Evan Wyly is a Founder and an Owner of the Texas Legends, since 2009. He is a Founder of Maverick Capital, an investment management firm, since 1990, serving as a Managing Partner through 2007. He was a Founder and Director of Green Mountain Energy, the nation’s leading provider of cleaner energy from 1997 until its sale in 2010, serving as Chairman from 2003. He has also served as a director of three publicly traded companies: Sterling Commerce from 1995 to 2000, Sterling Software from 1992 to 2000, and Michaels Stores from 1992 to 2001. He is a native of Dallas, Texas. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is a member of YPO Gold and a member emeritus of the Advisory Faculty of the Institute for Private Investors. He serves on the board of the Maverick Capital Foundation and has served on the boards of several other not-for-profit organizations. He is married and has 3 children and 7 grandchildren.