Mark Cuban appears to be inspired by a certain 2016 presidential candidate.
One Donald Trump has the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks pondering a presidential run. In an email exchange with CNBC, the business mogul outlined his hypothetical candidacy. Like any good athlete, Mr. Cuban visualizes victory:
“If I ran as a Dem, I know I could beat Hillary Clinton,” Cuban wrote to CNBC. “And if it was me vs. Trump, I would crush him. No doubt about it,” he writes.
[Update: Later on Monday, Cuban told CNBC's Closing Bell: "I'm invested in over 100 small businesses, and I go and talk to school kids. There are so many ways I think I can impact society. I just don't have the temperament, at least not at this point, to be a politician."]
But would a Cuban candidacy offer voters a stark choice? Mr. Cuban and Trump share some striking similarities. Both are billionaires, Mr. Cuban amassed wealth on the sale of Broadcast.com in 1999. Forbes puts Mr. Trump’s worth at $4 billion, and Cuban’s at $3 billion.
Cuban, like Trump, is a reality TV fixture, with a role on ABC's "Shark Tank," a show that also airs on CNBC, in which he leans on his business acumen to critique, and sometimes invest in, startups pitched on the show.
And perhaps most like Trump, Cuban courts controversy: He is a repeat offender, loudly criticizing NBA referees during games of the basketball team he owns, the Dallas Mavericks, often incurring fines from the NBA. Like any worthy potential billionaire candidate, his public profile is established on Twitter, which he has used as a platform to give unsolicited and controversial healthcare advice, and to apologize for making insensitive remarks.
Cuban tells CNBC that what were once liabilities for political candidates are now perceived strengths, like “massive wealth, limited governing experience, even ego-bursting levels of narcissism,” he writes.
Cuban added he'd focus on five top economic problems the country needs to solve if he ran for president. Those include, he said, income inequality, college debt, overly complex taxes, and cybersecurity.
Whether or not Cuban runs, Trump has his attention. The Mavericks owner is expected to be in attendance Monday (taking notes?) as the current Republican front-runner speaks at the Dallas arena where his NBA team plays.
At the moment, a 2016 presidential run by Cuban seems in the realm of pure speculation. But in a campaign season where, so far, being a political outsider seems to be a key factor buoying support for candidates such as Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, maybe Cuban is on to something.