Mark Cuban, Mavs CEO bridge gap with WNBA’s Dallas Wings; catalyst for GEMS jersey partnership

DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall learned a lot about the WNBA’s Dallas Wings after owner Mark Cuban hired her in the wake of the NBA club’s scandal over a hostile workplace for women.

Cuban mentioned that his team had very little connection with the Wings until he brought Marshall on board five years ago. Currently, Marshall holds season tickets for the Wings and has played a significant role in establishing a groundbreaking partnership involving jersey patches.

“I cannot reword”

The Wings proudly display the Mavericks logo on their jersey, along with the emblem of the NBA team’s initiative known as “Girls Empowered by Mavericks” or GEM. This marks the WNBA’s inaugural significant partnership with an NBA franchise that operates under a distinct ownership group.

The GEM program impacts over 3,000 girls in the Dallas region through various initiatives such as camps, wellness clinics, and workshops that emphasize financial literacy and leadership abilities.

The agreement is another step in the rising visibility of a franchise that moved to the Dallas area eight years ago. The team plays in the arena at the University of Texas at Arlington, about halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth.

“In recent years, the WNBA has witnessed growth in attendance, TV ratings, and the influence of their players,” stated Cuban. “I believe that social media has played a significant role in driving this progress for the WNBA.”

The Wings are hoping to achieve their first win in a playoff series since relocating from Tulsa, Oklahoma. They will have an opportunity to do so on Tuesday evening when they play against Atlanta at home, having already secured a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series last Friday.

“If we were to experience a prolonged playoff run, if we were able to achieve something unprecedented,” expressed Greg Bibb, CEO of the Wings, “then I believe we would witness a significant boost in the growth of the Dallas Wings.”

Marshall and Bibb added some fuel with a deal that had its roots in discussions just before the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020.

Fast-forward to the NCAA women’s Final Four in Dallas last spring, and they were at many of the same ancillary events. By then, collaboration between the franchises had grown quite a bit. Marshall, a former longtime telecommunications executive, was ready for something more.

“We recently resumed our conversation and acknowledged that we have moved past the challenges of COVID. We decided to explore other possibilities and discuss our future plans,” Marshall explained. “I attended their season opener this year, and it suddenly occurred to both of us that we have a great chance to achieve something significant together.”

Prior to the official announcement in August, players from the Wings team were already participating in GEM events. Additionally, Isabelle Harrison, a former player, had the opportunity to intern with the Mavs. Marshall expressed her desire for more internship opportunities to be available for players.

Bibb made a comeback in the WNBA, joining the Wings shortly after they relocated from Tulsa. This happened a little over two years before Marshall was hired by the Mavericks.

“I cannot reword.”

Bibb’s previous WNBA experience came with the Washington Mystics, one of five teams owned by the NBA teams in their markets. The Wings are among seven teams independently owned.

“There are advantages and disadvantages to both options,” Bibb stated. “If you are part of a larger enterprise, the available resources are significantly different. However, if you are working independently, the major advantage is that every individual here is fully dedicated to advancing this particular business, from the moment they wake up until they go to bed at night.”

After gaining a deeper understanding of the Wings, Marshall became consumed with thoughts on advancing the partnership.

Cuban brought Marshall in soon after a 2018 Sports Illustrated report detailed years of incidents of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct in the Mavericks’ business office. Cuban also didn’t fire a writer for the team’s website after learning of a second allegation of domestic violence against him.

The owner claimed to have limited knowledge of the accusations regarding a hostile work environment, and a report that was published approximately six months later supported his statement. Cuban was criticized for not taking more initiative, and he contributed $10 million to organizations that advocate for women’s rights.

“I cannot reword”

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