It took him 11 years, but Mark Cuban finally has a ring.
The passionate and outspoken billionaire bought the Mavericks in January 2000, and on Sunday night the franchise won its first NBA Championship in Game Six of the best-of-seven series against the Miami Heat.
Since he bought the Mavericks, Cuban has been one of the most vocal and involved owners in the NBA. But during the playoffs he was mum, and allowed his inspired team led by Dirk Nowitzki, a superstar who was for years was considered too soft to win a championship, do all his talking for him.
They did more than just talk. Nowitzki, Jason Terry and the rest of the Mavs got their revenge against the Heat for their devastating loss in the 2006 Finals, and in doing so proved that teamwork and trust are worth more than flash and star power.
Cuban has been committed to the Mavericks from the moment he bought them, and for the first time he didn't goad the opposing team, didn't harass officials, and gave his players the chance to make a statement on the hardwood.
Cuban has been sometimes criticized for his personnel decisions - most notably allowing Steve Nash to walk away as a free agent in 2004 - but his cobbled-together team of aging veterans put together one of the best playoff runs in history to emerge as the 2011 Champions.
Like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, Nowitzki was a free agent last summer. But unlike that trio, he chose to remain with a perennially under-achieving franchise, trusting in his owner and the organization to put enough pieces around him to bring the championship to North Texas.
The owner has always been willing to spend money to bring talent to Dallas, but last off-season he failed in his attempts to bring a legitimate second superstar to join Nowitzki. Iit turned out Nowitizki didn't need one, he had more than enough in Terry, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, DeShawn Stevenson, and Brian Cardinal (Brian Cardinal?!) to win a championship.
Cuban deferred to his head coach Rick Carlisle who told him to back off and trust the team to do what no one thought they could. So Cuban didn't talk to the media during the playoffs, didn't join the players on the bench, and sat mostly quiet two rows behind the team bench, hoping and trusting that this was their year.
On the podium to accept the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, Cuban deferred again. Instead of accepting a trophy himself, he wanted Donald Carter - the founder and first owner of the Dallas Mavericks - to be the one who held up the first trophy in franchise history.
In the locker room after the ceremony, in the midst of sweaty, champagne-soaked champions, and wearing the cowboy hat that was the Mavericks' original logo, Carter spoke about Cuban's achievements with his team.
He's become the owner I always wanted him to become because of his love for the game, he played it just right, Carter said of Cuban.
When ESPN's Stuart Scott interviewed Cuban to ask about the team's performance and his thoughts on his two-month-long absence from the spotlight, Cuban spoke just a few short sentences about the heart of his team and then disappeared into the crowd of his players to celebrate a victory that belongs to all of them.
The controversies, the more than a million dollars paid to the league in fines, and the heartache of 2006, all disappeared for a moment.
Standing on that podium with his team of unlikely champions and holding up the Larry O'Brien trophy, Mark Cuban could finally give the Mavericks' fans and organization what they had long waited for.