Mark Cuban, the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks , has been fined nearly $2 million by that league for various outbursts going back 15 years. Now he can add eSports to his impressive résumé of sanctions.
This may be, in wrestling parlance, a work, though the money seems very much real. Cuban was participating in a charity League of Legends match at the Intel Extreme Masters tour stop in San Jose this weekend. During his play he dropped an F-bomb and was later informed by field reporter Kristine Leahy that was a no-no carrying a $15,000 fine, payable to the Cybersmile Foundation, an anti-cyberbullying nonprofit organization.
Asked what he thought, Cubes doubled down and said "fuck it," upping the total to $30,000. The grateful Cybersmile Foundation noted that the match netted $38,000 in contributions to its efforts, so this may have been planned.
Cuban is worth about $3 billion, so money is not an issue here, and in addition to his NBA rap sheet he's participated in self-effacing acts of contrition for running his mouth before. A famous example came 13 years ago when Cuban was fined half a million dollars by the NBA — at the time a record — for saying the league's director of officiating wasn't fit "to manage a Dairy Queen." Cuban then worked at one in Texas for a day, even going through its regular employee training.
But Cuban's run-ins with authority have not curbed his outspoken nature. At the LoL event in San Jose, Cuban made a point of calling Colin Cowherd — Leahy's co-host on Fox Sports' The Herd — an "idiot" for his disparaging remarks about eSports, particularly when they receive the kind of mainstream coverage other sports get.
As for whether Cuban's interest and participation portends deeper involvement in eSports — as a team owner or backer — he's not saying just yet. If you want to see his full match, it's below: