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Mark Cuban On the Sport of Business

The NBA owner opens up about his career and offers advice to inspire your own work life.

Outside of basketball, what’s your passion?

The sport of business. I just love to compete. There’s always somebody, you don’t even know who it is, out there trying to kick your ass and put you out of business. To me that’s the ultimate fun. It’s the challenge of always competing that gets me fired up more than anything. I just love being able to go into businesses and just f—k ’em up. When I got involved with basketball, everybody said, “You’re supposed to sit upstairs and just be a quiet little owner.” Now everybody says, “Well, you’ve got to be like Mark Cuban.” So it’s been a nice 180-degree turnaround.

Do you think you could get the Shark Tank judges to invest in you?

Oh, in a heartbeat, because I know what it takes. I’m not going to go and pitch something unless I know it better than them. I’m not going to go out there unless I know my numbers cold. I’m not going to even think about the business unless I know it’s going to be successful. And those guys are wusses. I’d kick their asses either way.

Any advice for a guy with a great idea?

My best advice is ideas aren’t worth shit. The hard part is putting together all the pieces. Most people think it’s about connections or money, when the reality is most businesses don’t get off the ground for lack of brains or lack of effort. Most people just aren’t willing to put in the effort to figure it all out to get in the position to start the company. My advice is always going to be, for whatever business you are starting, you’ve got to be the smartest guy to start that business; otherwise, the people already there are going to kick your ass.

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