When Mark Cuban dipped into his pot o' gold a few weeks ago to save the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade, he didn't just resuscitate a 32-year Dallas tradition. The fun-loving owner of the Dallas Mavericks reminded us, once again, why he is DFW's Most Magically Delicious Billionaire. (Suck it, Jerry Jones.)
But Cuban doesn't earn that distinction just because he agreed to cut a $40,000 check to the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association, minutes after the organization's president e-mailed him for help. Or because he pledged $25,000 to the parade's scholarship fund. Cuban spent more than that ($110,000) on his bar tab after the Mavs won the NBA title in Miami last summer.
It's not even because Cuban acted swiftly while the rest of Dallas' business leaders and city officials sat on their hands. (Rising security costs and disappearing sponsors threatened the parade's future.)
It's that Cuban, despite his stacks of cash, his Preston Hollow mansion, his private jet and his cameos on Entourage, is more in touch with the common man than any other 1 percenter or politician could ever hope to be. He knew the Greenville parade was part of what makes Dallas grand on St. Paddy's Day. (He knows this firsthand, as he was the parade's grand marshal a few years ago.) And the former bartender didn't want to see our inalienable right to march down the street in garish hats and feather boas, slurping pints of green beer, just fade away.
For sure, some people will accuse Cuban of grandstanding, of furthering his image as a fratboy billionaire who can't stay out of the spotlight. He won't care.
Whether he's talking business on ABC's Shark Tank, arguing politics on Real Time With Bill Maher, screaming at the refs at Mavs games or serving up dip cones at a Dairy Queen, Mark Cuban is basically the same guy. And we like that guy.
Far as we can tell, his only interest in bailing out the parade is that he "didn't want to see [the tradition] go away," as he told the Dallas Observer. Heck, Cuban is not even Irish (his grandparents were Russian Jews whose last name was Chabenisky.) But he is Dallas' lucky charm. Cheers to you, Mr. Cuban.
-- Rick Press