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Lakers' big win over Cuban's team

The Lakers' win over the Mavs is the biggest of the year.

January 14, 2010, 1:24 AM

By: John Ireland

Let me set the scene for you at around 7 pm Wednesday night in Dallas:

To say that things looked bad for the Lakers would be an understatement. Pau Gasol was still out with his hamstring injury, and Kobe Bryant's back spasms were so bad, he could barely walk. Those suspicions were confirmed in the first half, when Bryant played 11 minutes, had no points, no assists, no steals and no rebounds. At that point, I'll admit now, I gave the team no chance.

What happened next was the highlight of the Lakers season so far:

- Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum all came up with double-doubles. The three players combined for 56 points and 36 rebounds.

- Jordan Farmar came off the bench and sparked the team in the second half. After scoring just two points in the first half, he finished with 12 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes.

- Kobe found a way to play, and contributed 10 second half points.

In my opinion, considering what they were up against, it was the biggest win of the year.

It will undoubtedly drive Mavericks owner Mark Cuban certifiably crazy. Losing to a Lakers team without Gasol and an injured Bryant, just might cause him to go the top of the American Airlines Center and jump So, I'm going to write something nice about Cuban.

The Mavericks owner is one of those guys who is either loved or hated by most fans (I'm in the first group). There is very little middle ground when it comes to Cuban. He's loud, outspoken, and he does things his way. He's been fined more than any owner, and he doesn't care.

Cuban became a millionaire by age 30 and a billionaire by the time he turned 40. And he did what I would have done. He bought an NBA team. He started a TV network. And he doesn't slow down, ever.

I read a ton of blogs every day. Cuban's blog, www.blogmaverick.com , is one of the best out there. If you're under the age of 25, this is a must-read. He leads the blog world in the most underrated category I can think of: things I wish I knew when I starting my career.

Lately, he's been great at this. For example:

In response to a college student who e-mailed him about being unfocused, Cuban wrote:

"You are still in school. You don't need to have all the answers or focus on one thing. You should be trying a lot of things until you find the one thing you really love to do and are good at. When that happens, you will be able to focus.

Being focused at 21 is way over rated. Now is the time to screw up, try as many different things as you can and just maybe figure things out.

The thing you do need to do is learn. Learn accounting. Learn finance. Learn statistics. Learn as much as you can about business. Read biographies about business people. You don't have to focus on 1 thing, but you have to create a base of knowledge so you are ready when its time.

You will never know when that time will come. But you can be ready when it does."

I couldn't agree more with him. The best piece of advice anybody ever gave me when I was at UCLA was this: "don't let school interfere with your education."

You're going to get opportunities to try things. Say yes. You never know where it may lead.

Cuban also wrote recently about why he's been successful in business:

"Relaxing is for the other guy. I may be sitting in front of the TV, but I'm not watching it unless I think there is something I can learn from it. I'm thinking about things I can use in my business and the TV is just there.

I could take the time to read a fiction book, but I don't. I would rather read websites, newspapers, magazines, looking for ideas and concepts that I can use. I spend time in bookstores because 1 idea from a book or magazine can make me money.

I'm not going to go to dinner with you just to chat. I'm not going to give you a call to see how you are. Unless you want to talk business. Other guys play fantasy sports. I fire the synapses to get an edge.

That's what success is all about. It's about the edge.

It's not who you know. It's not how much money you have. It's very simple. It's whether or not you have the edge and have the guts to use it.

The edge is getting so jazzed about what you do, you just spent 24 hours straight working on a project and you thought it was a couple hours.

The edge is knowing that you have to be the smartest guy in the room when you have your meeting and you are going to put in the effort to learn whatever you need to learn to get there.

The edge is knowing is knowing that when the 4 girlfriends you have had in the last couple years asked you which was more important, them or your business, you gave the right answer.

The edge is knowing that you can fail and learn from it, and just get back up and in the game.

The edge is knowing that people think you're crazy, and they are right, but you don't care what they think."

He goes on about the edge, and you should go to his blog and read it.

By the way, even though he's had some fun with Phil Jackson in the media, Cuban told me once that he's a big fan of the Buss family. He says that he considers Jerry Buss one of the elite owners in all of sports, and especially likes Jeanie. He says that he admires the way she sees the big picture and has a ton of respect for her business sense.

After reading his blog, I have a ton of respect for his.

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