Mark Cuban is worth $4.1 billion — and he says going 7 years without a vacation helped him get there

Mark Cuban has an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.

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Mark Cuban has an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.
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Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

  • Mark Cuban has an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion.
  • He’s earned his fortune through a lifetime of business deals, including the $5.7 billion sale of Broadcast.com, his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, and investments made on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
  • Cuban has spent millions on private airplanes, a yacht, and a luxurious Dallas home, not to mention $2 million in fines from the NBA.
  • Cuban said his rise to wealth didn’t come easy while speaking during the Dallas Startup Week conference. The mogul said he lived in a “dumpy” apartment with numerous roommates, stole towels from the Holiday Inn, and didn’t take a vacation in seven years.

Mark Cuban is one of the wealthiest people in America, with an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion, according to Forbes – but getting there wasn’t easy.

Cuban’s journey to becoming a billionaire included living in a “dumpy” apartment, where he stayed up late eating chicken wings and teaching himself to code. The mogul told attendees at the Dallas Startup Week conference of the unglamorous life of an aspiring entrepreneur – one that includes no vacation time for seven years and stealing towels from the Holiday Inn, according to a report from Dallas News.

The late nights ended up paying off: the businessman and investor earned his fortune with a series of shrewd business deals starting in the 1990s, most notably the sale of his streaming site Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion in stocks.

He bought the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks in 2000 and helped transform them into a championship team.

And he’s added to his empire with investments like the ones he makes each week on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” where he’s been a regular for eight years.

But $10 million isn’t the fortune it sounds like to the billionaire. Over the years, he’s spent his money on private planes, a 24,000-square-foot house, an $110,000 bar tab, and millions of dollars of fines from the NBA.

Read on to see how Cuban has earned – and spent – his fortune.


Mark Cuban is worth an estimated $4.1 billion, according to Forbes. That ranks him among the 500 richest people in America.

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Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Reality Rocks

Source: Forbes


Cuban made his fortune over a lifetime of shrewd business deals. He’s the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks …

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Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Source: Forbes


… he’s the co-founder of 2929 Entertainment, which owns the production companies behind films like “Akeelah and the Bee” and “Good Night and Good Luck” …

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Source: Biography


… and he’s also a regular on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” in which hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of celebrity investors.

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ABC

Source: ABC


But Cuban made his fortune years before any of those ventures. He got his start in the early 1980s selling software for a company called Your Business Software.

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Courtesy of Mark Cuban

Source: CNBC


In 1982, he started his own company, MicroSolutions, which he sold eight years later for $6 million. Cuban made $2 million off the deal.

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Mark Cuban

Source: CNBC


But Cuban would really make his name with his next business venture: an Internet radio company called Audionet, which eventually became Broadcast.com.

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Screenshot/Wayback Machine

Source: Biography


Cuban took control of the company in 1995. The site streamed broadcasts of sports games, political conventions, and other events.

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YouTube/Avekta Productions

Source: Biography


In 1999, Yahoo acquired Broadcast.com for a whopping $5.7 billion in stock. Cuban netted $1 billion when he sold his shares.

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Reuters

Source: CNN


Around that time, Cuban bought a Gulfstream V business jet for $40 million. To this day, it holds the Guinness world record for the biggest purchase ever conducted over the internet.

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Wikimedia Commons

Source: Guinness World Records


Cuban called the plane one of the smartest purchases he’s ever made. “It’s obviously brutally expensive, but time is the one asset we simply don’t own,” he wrote for Men’s Health. “It saves me hours and hours.”

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Mark Cuban
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Brian Snyder/Reuters

Source: Men’s Health


Coming off the heels of his billion-dollar payday, Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million in 2000.

Source: Biography


He raised his profile by sitting courtside at Mavericks games and drew attention for his animated reactions and media outbursts.

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Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Source: Orange County Register


His frequent criticisms of NBA refs have cost him a small fortune — the NBA has fined him close to $2.6 million for his comments and antics over the years.

Source: The New York Times


He’s given to numerous charities over the years, including Autism Speaks, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban participates in BTIG’s 12th annual Commissions for Charity Day at BTIG’s trading floor on May 13, 2014 in New York City.
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Noam Galai/Getty Images for Project Sunshine

Source: Look to the Stars


After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Cuban lent his private plane to Mavericks point guard and Puerto Rico native J.J. Barea to fly food, water, and supplies to the island.

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Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea.
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Matthew Stockman/Getty

Source: ESPN via Business Insider


In response to an NBA investigation — prompted by a Sports Illustrated report — that unearthed evidence of the Mavericks organization having been a discriminatory and toxic workplace for women, Cuban pledged $10 million to women’s causes and domestic violence awareness.

Source: Sports Illustrated, Associated Press


Today, Forbes estimates the Mavericks are worth $2.3 billion — $2 billion more than what Cuban paid for the team 18 years ago.

Source: Forbes


Cuban has done his fair share of spending. On top of the private airplane, in 1999 he paid $17.6 million for a 24,000-square-foot mansion in Dallas, where he and his family still live.

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Wikimedia Commons

Source: D Magazine


The 7-acre property reportedly features 10 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a separate guest house in the back.

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Wikimedia Commons

Source: Forbes


When the Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2011, Cuban reportedly spent $110,000 on his team’s bar tab that night. “Worth every penny,” he told The New York Post.

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Brandon Wade/Getty Images

Source: The New York Post


The next year, Cuban chipped in $40,000 to save the local Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade when the group running the annual event ran out of funding. “You just can’t let a Dallas tradition like that die,” Cuban said.

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YouTube/Coolest Stuff in Texas

Source: KXAS-TV


Cuban leveraged his fame into a short-lived 2004 reality series called “The Benefactor,” in which contestants competed to win $1 million of Cuban’s money. However, the show was panned as a ripoff of “The Apprentice” and was cancelled after six episodes.

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Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Source: IMDB


Another TV show he’s on, “Shark Tank,” has proven much more successful. It’s now entering its 10th season.

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screengrab from ABC

Source: ABC


Over the course of his eight-season stint on the show, Cuban has made close to 100 deals and has invested millions of dollars in startups and small businesses.

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ABC

Source: Sharkalytics


The largest deal he ever offered on the show came in 2015, when he proposed to buy the dating-app company Coffee Meets Bagel outright for $30 million. The owners rejected the deal.

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ABC

Source: Business Insider


Cuban said one of the best purchases he ever made was an unlimited first-class American Airlines ticket for $250,000 — a promotion that the airline offered from 1981 to 1994. Cuban and 25 other ticket-holders continue to enjoy free airfare for life.

Source: The Hustle


Of course, considering he now owns two private jets and a yacht, first class might actually be a step down for Cuban.

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Michael Hickey/Getty Images, stephrog/Flickr

Source: Dallas News


Despite his sometimes lavish spending, Cuban keeps a frugal mentality much of the time. For example, he insists on buying items in bulk, especially items he knows he’ll need such as razors and toothpaste.

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Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Source: NPR


And he advocates for people to achieve financial independence by paying off debt and stashing six months’ worth of income in the bank.

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Mark Cuban.
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Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

Source: Entrepreneur


It’s a combination of relentless work ethic and financial smarts that have not only made Cuban one of the richest people in America, but kept him that way. As he once said, “Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.”

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban cheers before his team plays the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 12, 2011.
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Reuters/Mike Segar

Source: Inc.