- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS – You might have noticed Mark Cuban likes messing with people. The big-mouthed Mavericks owner found a couple of sparring partners in the last week, billionaire Donald Trump and big man Brendan Haywood.
This is far from the first back-and-forth between Cuban and Trump. This one started when Cuban publicly challenged Trump to shave off his infamous hair, offering $1 million to the charity of Trump’s choice if the haircut happened.
“He’s just like the buddy you like to pick on,” Cuban said of Trump. “You still like him, but you like to pick on him.”
Trump responded to Cuban’s charitable challenge by firing a shot on Twitter, writing that “Dummy @mcuban is at it again trying to use me to get publicity for himself.” Trump added jabs at Cuban’s failed attempts to buy a baseball team and reality show ratings.
Trump also scoffed at the paltry $1 million offer, prompting Cuban to reveal a much more lucrative offer if Trump would match Cuban’s $1 million donation to superstorm Sandy victims.
Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki delighted in the shots fired by Trump at his boss.
“He said Cuban is broke!” Nowitzki hollered with a laugh, interrupting Cuban’s pregame chat with reporters while exercising on the adjacent machine. “Cuban can’t pay for a baseball team!”
Quipped Cuban, “I said, if you had to pay Nowitzki, you’d be broke, too.”
Cuban still has to pay most of Haywood’s contract, too, after waiving the center via the amnesty clause this summer. For whatever reason, Cuban figured the affable Haywood would be a fun trash-talk target when the Bobcats came to town over the weekend.
“Every time he touched the ball, I yelled, ‘Shoot!’” Cuban said. “Every time he made one, he looked over and I smiled at him. I do that to a lot of guys. That was me heckling him.”
Haywood had an uncharacteristically productive offensive performance in the Mavs' blowout win over the Bobcats, scoring 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting. That didn’t bother Cuban, especially considering the final score.
“Hey, I have no problem when he has great nights. I want to get my money’s worth,” Cuban joked. “No, I like Wood. He’s a good guy.”