Billionaire Mark Cuban provided a glimpse into his history with Donald Trump Friday, promoting a blog post he authored in 2004 describing the initial meeting between the bombastic businessmen.
In a post on his personal blog titled “Thank you, Donald,” the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank” responded to a quote from Trump regarding Cuban’s show, “The Benefactor,” which would last for just one season.
Trump had compared the show to his hit series, “The Apprentice,” claiming that “100 people” would be trying “to do shows a little bit like us.” Cuban took that to mean Trump was calling his program a “copycat.”
“Let’s get some things cleared up in case anyone is confused,” Cuban wrote. “The Benefactor is going to be nothing like The Apprentice. Why? Because, Donald, we are not alike in any way. The funny thing is, in some respects, I have you to thank for that.”
He detailed a 1999 Super Bowl party he attended at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He said it was the first time he met the Manhattan billionaire.
“I happened to bump into one of the founders of Yahoo by your pool and was talking to him when you walked up,” he said. “It was just your typical, short meet-and-greet, but what you said left a lasting impression. You told us that ‘someday, maybe we could sit up there with the rich people’ as you looked up to a 2nd floor patio that had a smattering of people eating their [dinner].ds”
“Someday, Donald,” he continued.
Cuban said he got a note from Trump “not long after” asking to meet in New York.
“Sure, I thought,” Cuban wrote. “Why not? We had a good meeting, talked about your internet plans for Trump.com and how it would sell and promote all things Trump. We talked about Broadcast.com (the online radio streaming website that earned Cuban his initial fortune.) You had a sharp guy there with you. We didn’t do any business, but we gave it a shot.”
He continued, recalling seeing Trump’s office in his eponymous building:
“That wasn’t the educational part of the meeting. It was your office. It was covered, literally, every inch of every wall with pictures and magazine covers of you. I have been in a lot of offices. I have seen pictures with the president, with family, with various famous people, but the over/under was usually 5 pictures, not 100. At that point in my life I was very well off financially, but I had a lot more paper money from stock in my net worth than cash. Our encounters proved to be a reality check for me.”
He said that after the visit to Trump’s Manhattan office, he “promised” himself that, if he ever had an obscene amount of money in the bank, he would “make a point” to not flaunt it that extensively — “unlike you.”
“I guess our definition of success is just completely different,” he wrote. “I used to wear a suit to work every day. I worked hard so I wouldn’t have to. I bought a big house so I could throw a football and play whiffleball in it, rather than show it off. I don’t play golf, I work out. I don’t have an entourage, I have friends. You talk about how much you are getting paid per episode, I talk about the fact I’m not. You need to make more, I have enough. But those are little things.”
“Where we are 180 degrees different is how we deal with business partners,” he continued. “You talk about how your problem casinos are just 1 pct of your net worth. I would feel like s— if I had a failing business with partners that were going to lose money and would talk about what it meant to my partners net worth, not my own. Heck, I won’t even let friends invest in any of my companies until I’m certain they will make it. How in the world can you pay yourself while shareholders take a beating?”
Cuban said he was a fan of “The Apprentice,” adding that his show would be nothing like Trump’s.
If he wanted to do a show like “The Apprentice,” he wrote that he “would have met with Mark Burnett when he wanted to talk about taking your place after next season.”
“For a lot of reasons, I didn’t want to write this blog entry,” Cuban wrote. “In some ways it’s not fair to you to just lay into you like this. But the point of my blog is to try to tell the story behind the story that is in the paper. You could have said that you didn’t know much about our show and left it at that. You suggested our show was a duplicate of yours. It’s not. It won’t be. I wanted to make that perfectly clear.”
Later that month, Cuban responded to Trump’s initial answer to the blog post. Trump told The New York Post that he didn’t remember meeting Cuban and didn’t say what Cuban claimed the real-estate magnate had.
“First, I don’t expect him to remember me,” he wrote in a subsequent blog post. “That’s OK. He meets a ton of people. I’m sure he doesn’t usually talk to people like he did to us. It’s possible it was just one of those throw away comments that we all make from time to time. But facts are facts, Donald. You said it.”
“I remember it as clearly as I remember the Hawaiian Tropic Model wannabes with sequin dresses that were on the other side of the pool watching you come over to us,” he continued. “The reason that I remember it as clearly as I do is not simply because it was you that said it, but rather because I was probably the poorest guy of the 3 of us at the table. The irony was so rich (pun intended), I was dying to tell my buddies when I got home.”
He said Trump’s comments didn’t make him “a bad guy,” nor did it mean Cuban didn’t “like you.”
“We are just different,” Cuban wrote. “Very different. I respect you and think we would have a great time hanging out talking business. How about this as a truce offering: I will come by your apartment in NY, we can either walk or take a cab to the White Castle of your choice and dinner is on me. Bring your girlfriend if you like. If we can’t be friends after sharing a couple dozen sliders and onion chips, it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Cuban tweeted Friday that Trump’s 2004 response to the initial blog post “sounds awful familiar these days.”
Just last month, Trump took a shot at Cuban’s “Benefactor” as he was set to sit in the front row at the first presidential debate.
“If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!” he wrote, mentioning a woman former President Bill Clinton admitting to having an affair with.
Cuban announced his support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a Pittsburgh rally in July. He has ripped Trump repeatedly on social media and in interviews, calling him the most “dangerous” presidential candidate he could imagine during a recent interview with Business Insider. Last month, Cuban offered Trump $10 million to hold a four-hour policy debate with him.
Earlier in the cycle, he was more enthralled by a potential Trump presidency, and at different points said he’d be interested in serving as either Trump’s or Clinton’s running mate.
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