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CNBC Transcript: Billionaire Investor Mark Cuban Speaks with CNBC's "Power Lunch" Live from CNBC and Inc. Magazine’s iCONIC Conference

WHEN: Today, Tuesday, May 19th

WHERE: CNBC's "Power Lunch"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with billionaire investor Mark Cuban live from CNBC and Inc. Magazine's iCONIC conference in Chicago today. Following are links to the video on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000380961 and http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000380938.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

BRIAN SULLIVAN: LET'S GET BACK TO TYLER MATHISEN WHO'S GOT A GUY THAT OWNS THE BASKETBALL TEAM AND IS ON SOME TANK SHOW. TYLER?

TYLER MATHISEN: YEAH, ABSOLUTELY. HE IS A SHARK. WELCOME EVERYBODY, BACK AT ICONIC WITH MARK CUBAN, ONE OF AMERICA'S LEADING EXPERTS ON THE SEASONAL ADJUSTMENT OF GDP DATA.

MARK CUBAN: RIGHT.

MATHISEN: BUT LET ME PLAYOFF OF THOSE NUMBERS AND ASK YOU DOES THE ECONOMY FEEL AS WEAK AS THE NUMBERS FROM THE FIRST QUARTER SUGGESTED IT DID?

CUBAN: NO, NOT FROM ALL OF MY BUSINESSES, WHICH ARE TRADITIONALLY A LOT OF SMALL BUSINESSES, A LOT OF MY SHARK TANK INVESTMENTS. WE FEEL GROWTH. I MEAN, WHETHER IT IS AT THE MAVS IN SELLING TICKETS, WATCHING THE NBA TICKET SALES, ALL OF THE LITTLE COMPANIES. IT FEELS LIKE IT'S GROWING. IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE HAVING SEEN THE GDP REPORTS BEFORE AND THE .2 AND HAVING EVERYBODY FEEL LIKE THINGS WERE REALLY GOING BACKWARDS, I DIDN'T SEE IT. AND SO IT WAS GREAT TO SEE WHEN STEVE DID HIS WORK THAT WHAT WE WERE SEEING MATCHED WHAT THE ACTUAL NUMBER SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

MATHISEN: LET ME BRING IN STEVE WHO WANTS TO ASK A QUESTION. STEVE, YOU ARE ON.

STEVE LIESMAN: YEAH, MARK, I LIKE YOUR TWEET HERE AND I WANT TO READ YOUR TWEET IF YOU DON'T MIND. IT SAYS, "DOES CNBE REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT THEIR GDP STUDY IS? EVERY FRONT PAGE OF EVERY BIZ SECTION SHOULD HAVE THIS ON." THAT IS A NICE TWEET THERE. BUT I GUESS THE QUESTION BECOMES, AS AN INVESTOR MARK, AS AN OWNER, HOW DO YOU MAKE SENSE OF THE DATA IN REALTIME? YOU HAVE TO REACT TO IT BECAUSE IT'S THE BEST AVAILABLE. BUT WHAT DO YOU WHEN IT'S NOT SO GREAT?

CUBAN: WELL, WHEN IT'S NOT SO GREAT, YOU LOOK AT YOUR OWN NUMBERS AND COMPARE THEM TO WHAT THE MACRO NUMBERS ARE. SO, YOU HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THAT GDP IS MACRO, AND WHATEVER IS HAPPENING THERE, HOPEFULLY WE CAN COUNTER BALANCE IT WITH EFFORT ON OUR SIDE. BUT WHEN YOU SEE THE NUMBER, IT KIND OF SETS EXPECTATIONS. SO WHEN WE SAW THE .02, IT WAS LIKE, WELL WAIT. ARE THINGS SLOWING DOWN? DOES THAT IMPACT OTHER INVESTMENTS? SO, MY SHARK TANK COMPANIES, I JUST WANT THEM TO SELL MORE. THE MAVS, I JUST WANT THEM TO SELL MORE. BUT KNOWING NOW THAT THE NUMBER REFLECTS WHAT IT FELT LIKE, I THINK IT DOESN'T SO MUCH CHANGE WHAT THE COMPANIES DO, BUT IT CHANGES SOME INVESTMENT THESES – PERSPECTIVES THAT I HAVE.

MATHISEN: HOW WILL – LATER THIS YEAR IF INTEREST RATES GO UP, HOW WILL YOU REACT TO THAT? DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO YOU?

CUBAN: NOT AT ALL. NO. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BALANCE THEM 5%, RIGHT?

MATHISEN: RIGHT.

CUBAN: YOU KNOW, .25%, 1%, THE MARGINAL COST TO ANY OF MY COMPANIES, THE MARGINAL COSTS OF THE COMPANIES I'M INVESTED IN, THE STOCKS – IRRELEVANT.

MATHISEN: AND A LOT OF YOUR BUSINESSES ARE NOT REALLY CAPITAL INTENSIVE IN THAT SENSE.

CUBAN: WELL, EVEN THE ONES THAT ARE, RIGHT? SO, THE ARENA, OR WHATEVER IT MAY BE, THE 1% ISN'T GOING TO CHANGE HOW I DO BUSINESS. THE 1% ISN'T GOING TO CHANGE WHAT DO I INVEST IN. AND THEY'RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO MOVE 1%.

MATHISEN: YEAH. BRIAN?

BRIAN SULLIVAN: HEY MARK, BRIAN SULLIVAN BACK AT CNBC HQ. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. LISTEN, I KNOW IT'S HARD TO HEAR THERE. LET'S GO BACK TO THIS DATA ISSUE. I DON'T WANT TO BE WONKY, BOTTOM LINE IT. YOU RUN A NUMBER OF ORGANIZATIONS. HOW MUCH DO YOU VIEW THE DATA AS JUST A SUGGESTION RATHER THAN A BIBLE? BECAUSE WE TREAT IT LIKE A BIBLE. IS THAT THE WRONG WAY TO LOOK AT IT?

CUBAN: WELL, UP UNTIL TWO DAYS AGO, IT WAS THE BIBLE. NOW, IT IS BACK TO BEING A SUGGESTION BECAUSE LOOK, THE GREATER MESSAGE IS QUESTION AUTHORITY. RIGHT? I MEAN THIS IS SOMETHING WE TOOK FOR GRANTED AS BEING A BIBLICAL NUMBER AND NOW CREDIT GOES TO STEVE WHERE HE CHALLENGED THE AUTHORITY AND WE REALIZE THAT NOT ONLY COULD THE GDP NUMBER BE WRONG ON AN ONGOING BASIS, BUT WHAT OTHER NUMBERS DO WE NEED TO QUESTION? SO I THINK IT REALLY CHANGES THE PERSPECTIVE FOR AN INVESTOR. I THINK, LOOK, HOW PEOPLE INVESTED TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS UP UNTIL TWO DAYS AGO JUST CHANGED.

MATHISEN: YOU LOOK AT YOUR NUMBERS VERY CLOSELY AND YOU TRUST THEM.

CUBAN: OF COURSE.

MATHISEN: AND YOU WOULD SIT THERE AND GO THROUGH SOME ANALYSIS AND SAY WAIT A MINUTE, WE ARE DOING BETTER THAN THIS.

CUBAN: WELL YEAH, AND LOOK, YOU GET A – THERE IS LOCALIZATION, RIGHT?

MATHISEN: RIGHT.

CUBAN: DALLAS AND STATE OF TEXAS HAS TRADITIONALLY OUTPERFORMED THE COUNTRY, BUT I'M INVESTED IN PITTSBURGH, I'M INVESTED IN CALIFORNIA. I'M ALL OVER THE WORLD FOR THAT MATTER. SO I HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE MACRO ECONOMICS AND AS IT APPLIES TO THE U.S., IT WAS SHOCKING THAT YOU COULD BE SO FAR OFF. I MEAN, THAT'S NOT LIKE – AN ADJUSTMENT OF .1, RIGHT? THAT IS ENORMOUS.

MATHISEN: LET ME TURN SOMEWHAT RANDOMLY TO SOMETHING ELSE IN THE NEWS. THAT IS THE DEFLATION OF THE FOOTBALL SCANDAL INVOLVING THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.

CUBAN: RIGHT.

MATHISEN: YOU MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE HEARD THAT YOUR FELLOW SPORTS TEAM OWNER ROBERT KRAFT HAS DECIDED HE IS NOT GOING TO APPEAL THE PENALTIES THAT WERE IMPOSED BY THE LEAGUE.

CUBAN: RIGHT.

MATHISEN: $1 MILLION, LOSS OF DRAFT CHOICES. MR. BRADY ON THE OTHER HAND IS APPARENTLY GOING TO APPEAL. DO YOU THINK THAT THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME?

CUBAN: LOOK, IT IS ALWAYS THE COVER UP THAT GETS YOU IN TROUBLE. AS SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN FINED A LOT, I CAN TELL YOU THE PUNISHMENT – ROGER GOODELL, ANY COMMISSIONER OF ANY PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUE REPRESENTS HIS OWNERS. AND HE DOESN'T DO ANYTHING IN A VACUUM. AND SO MY GUESS IS WITHOUT REALLY KNOWING, THERE 25 PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL OWNERS WHO CALLED UP THE COMMISSIONER GOODELL AND SAID YOU HAVE TO THROW THE BOOK AT HIM BECAUSE HE TRIED TO COVER HIM UP. AND THOSE SAME 25 OWNERS CALLED UP ROBERT KRAFT AND SAID IT'S HORRIBLE WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO YOU. BUT I THINK WHAT REALLY UNDERPINS IT, I KNOW MY GUYS HAVE DONE THE SAME THING TO ME. IN THAT THEY WILL SAY I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. AND YOU WANT TO TRUST THEM. AND SO APPARENTLY THERE IS SOMETHING THERE IF HE PULLED HIS APPEAL. AND WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS AND WHAT INFORMATION TOM BRADY IS WILLING TO DISCLOSE. BUT, DOES IT FIT THE CRIME? HONESTLY, I'M JUST A FAN. I DON'T CARE.

MATHISEN: BRIAN?

SULLIVAN: MARK, DO YOU THINK THAT THE NFL IS A MORE DYSFUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION THAN THE NBA?

CUBAN: NO, NOT REALLY. I JUST THINK THE NUMBERS ARE DIFFERENT. WHEN YOU HAVE 53 PLAYERS ON EACH TEAM THAT ARE ALL SUPPOSED TO BE WARRIORS AND BEAT THE HECK OUT OF EACH OTHER ON THE FIELD AND THEN BECOME PERFECT CITIZENS OFF THE FIELD, YOU CAN JUST LOOK AT A NORMAL POPULATION OF 20 TO 30-YEAR-OLD MEN AND YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE PROBLEMS. AND SO I DON'T THINK THEY ARE A DYSFUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION, BUT I THINK ANY ORGANIZATION THAT IS AT THE TOP OF THEIR FIELD, THAT IS JUST DOMINATING LIKE THE NFL IS, HAS A DIFFERENT SET OF CHALLENGES IN MAINTAINING THE LEAD AND STAYING AT THE TOP. AND THOSE ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT – I DON'T KNOW IF THE NFL IS DEALING WITH CORRECTLY.

MATHISEN: LET'S TALK ABOUT A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE NBA. HOW HEALTHY IT IS IN YOUR VIEW. IT SEEMS TO BE DOING VERY WELL.

CUBAN: YEAH. IT IS DOING GREAT.

MATHISEN: THERE ARE LOTS OF CITIES THAT MAYBE HAVEN'T BEEN COMPETITIVE FOR YEARS. GOLDEN STATE WAS NOT A PARTICULARLY COMPETITIVE FRANCHISE.

CUBAN: RIGHT.

MATHISEN: ATLANTA WAS NOT.

CUBAN: RIGHT.

MATHISEN: AND THEY ARE NOW COMPETING FOR THE NBA TITLE.

CUBAN: YEAH, LOOK, THAT'S THE NATURE OF THE GAME. IF THERE WAS A TEMPLATE TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP, I'D BE USING IT EVERY YEAR. IT'S NOT EASY TO WIN. THOSE GUYS GET A LOT OF CREDIT, THEY'VE GOT SOME AMAZING PLAYERS. THEY ARE PUT TOGETHER AMAZING TEAMS. BUT FROM A FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVE, THE LEAGUE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY BETTER. I THINK THE CONFLUENCE OF THE MARKETING WE HAVE DONE, THE FACT THAT SOCIAL MEDIA HAS REALLY PUSHED OUR PLAYERS TO DEFINE THEMSELVES AS BRANDS, THE FACT THAT BEING ON A BASKETBALL COURT YOU ARE MUCH MORE VISIBLE AND IDENTIFIABLE THAN ANY OTHER SPORT HAS REALLY PLAYED TO OUR BENEFIT.

MATHISEN: MUCH MORE VISIBLE.

CUBAN: AND NOW WE ARE STARTING TO SEE OUR COMMISSIONER, ADAM SILVER'S POSITION ON GAMBLING. AND SO I HAVE BEEN VOCAL INTERNALLY ABOUT THAT WE SHOULD WORK TO LEGALIZE ALL FORMS OF SPORTS BETTING. NOT JUST IN LAS VEGAS AND SOME OTHER STATES. AND I THINK THAT IS GOING TO TAKE US AND PUSH US EVEN FURTHER.

SULLIVAN: HEY MARK, OKAY. SPEAKING OF SOCIAL MEDIA, I HAVE TO ASK THIS BECAUSE WE HAVE PROBABLY A LOT OF VIEWERS OUT THERE THAT RUN LITTLE BUSINESSES AND THEY ARE TRYING TO FIGURE IT OUT. YOU ARE OUT THERE ON YOUR OWN DOING IT. YOUR ORGANIZATION, THE ROCKETS SENT OUT A LITTLE TWEET WITH A HORSE HEAD AND A GUN EMOTICON. OBVIOUSLY, THE GUY WHO SENT THAT TWEET OUT GOT FIRED. IT WAS IN REFERENCE TO THEM BEATING YOUR TEAM. AS A GUY WHO RUNS A BUNCH OF ORGANIZATIONS AND IS OUTSPOKEN AND ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR OWN ORGANIZATIONS ABOUT BEING CAREFUL, DON'T SCREW IT UP? WHAT DO YOU TELL THEM?

CUBAN: LOOK, I PROBABLY WOULD NOT HAVE FIRED THE GUY, BUT THAT'S THE ROCKETS CHOICE.

SULLIVAN: YOU WOULDN'T HAVE FIRED HIM?

CUBAN: NO. THERE'S DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOCIAL MEDIA. AND TWITTER, THE SIGNAL TO NOISE ON TWITTER IS JUST WAY OUT OF WHACK. WE LOOK AT WHAT PEOPLE TWEET AND WE TAKE IT AS REALLY BEING GOSPEL. I TRY TO TELL MY GUYS IT'S MORE BAR TALK, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY BECAUSE THERE REALLY IS A LOT OF HATE. THE SIGNAL NOISE IS JUST OUT OF WHACK AND SO I WOULDN'T HAVE FIRED HIM BECAUSE I DON'T LOOK AT TWITTER AS BEING A NEWS SOURCE. I DON'T LOOK AT IT AS SOMETHING THAT REALLY REFLECTS THE ORGANIZATION. PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. THAT IS THE NATURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. AND THEN INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, VINE, WHATEVER IT MAY BE, HAS THEIR OWN BRAND OR IMAGE AS WELL. SO YEAH, I WOULD NOT HAVE FIRED HIM. BUT WHEN WE MAKE A MISTAKE, YOU OWN UP TO IT AND YOU SAY LOOK, IT WAS A MISTAKE. YOU DELETE IT AND YOU MOVE ON. AND LOOK, I HAVE A COMPANY, GET EXPIRED.COM, THAT ALLOWS YOU TO GO IN AND SEARCH FOR AND DELETE OLD TWEETS. BECAUSE THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE TO LEAVING TWEETS OUT THERE FOR MORE THAN A MONTH. AND SO YOU CAN EXPECT THAT WHATEVER YOU SAY TODAY ON TWITTER IS GOING TO BE COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTEXT IN A MONTH, A YEAR, TWO YEARS.

MATHISEN: MARK, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. GREAT TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH YOU.

CUBAN: ALWAYS, TYLER. I'M ALWAYS HAPPY TO DO IT.

MATHISEN: WE WILL SEE YOU ON STAGE HERE AT ICONIC IN ABOUT 45 MINUTES OR SO.

CUBAN: I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT.

MATHISEN: MARK CUBAN. FOLKS, BACK TO YOU.

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