Money

Mark Cuban recalls the moment he told his dad he made $100,000 for the first time

Photo by John Lamparski

Self-made billionaire and "Shark Tank" star Mark Cuban grew up in a working-class family in Pittsburgh, PA. His dad installed upholstery in cars and his mom worked a variety of odd jobs.

"Nobody had high hopes for me," Cuban said in an interview on a 2016 "Shark Tank" episode, "but I was a hustler."

When the entrepreneur made six-figures for the first time, it was a big deal. "I remember telling my dad I made $100,000 in a year, and he cried," Cuban said on "The Dan Patrick Show" this week. "He did upholstery on cars, and I don't think he ever made more than $40,000 in a year."

Cuban would go on to make much more: MicroSolutions, the first company he started, grew to over $30 million in revenue and was sold to CompuServe for $6 million in 1990, making Cuban a millionaire at 32.

A few years later, he co-founded a company called Audionet, which became Broadcast.com. In 1999, it was acquired by Yahoo for $5.7 billion, and Cuban became a billionaire at 40.

Even after Cuban started out-earning his dad, which was "weird," he admitted, he wasn't allowed to pick up the check at restaurants. "He was dad — and so if we went out to dinner, he was pulling out the credit card no matter what," Cuban told Patrick. "The minute I said, 'Dad,' he just looked at me with a death stare like, Don't even think that you're going to pay for dinner."

While he wasn't always allowed pay his dad's tab, Cuban did bankroll a few trips. And that's the best thing he ever bought him, Cuban said: "I told him he could go anywhere he wanted to go in the world. … He loved to travel, so he just got to go anywhere he wanted.

"He went on cruises everywhere — he was Mr. Cruise — and there would always be 20 stories. I'd hear from people or get emails from random people who made friends with my dad."

Cuban's dad, who died last year at 92, continued working at his auto upholstery shop through his 70s. It wasn't until Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks in 2000 that he was finally able to convince his dad to stop working.

"I couldn't get him to retire," Cuban recalled. Buying the NBA team, though, "was the impetus for him to retire and come down to Dallas and live and hang out and go to Mavs games. It was really special."

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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