Mark Cuban named honorary starter for 98th Indianapolis 500

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INDIANAPOLIS (May 19, 2014) – He’s an NBA owner, reality TV star and Indiana University grad.

Now you can add “honorary Indianapolis 500 starter” to Mark Cuban’s list of accomplishments.

IMS officials announced Monday that 55-year-old Cuban would wave the green flag to start the Greatest Spectacle in Racing this Sunday.

“Whether it’s winning an NBA Championship or the honor of waving the green flag to start the Indianapolis 500, there are certain sporting events that are monumental for any true sports fan,” Cuban said in a news release. “I am excited to come back to Indiana, not just to attend, but actually participate in this historic race.”

IMS President Doug Boles said Cuban brings a “passion for sporting events” to the race as well as an impressive track record in business and entertainment.

Cuban’s natural entrepreneurial spirit blossomed at the age of 12, when he went door to door selling garbage bags. After graduating from Indiana University, he moved to Dallas, where he formed a computer consulting service called MicroSolutions. CompuServe bought the company in 1990.

Five years later, Cuban—frustrated with the inability to listen to IU basketball games while out of state—created Broadcast.com with his friend Todd Wagner. The venture provided streaming audio over the internet; Yahoo bought it for $5.6 billion.

Cuban put the windfall to good use, buying the Dallas Mavericks in 2000. His competitive—and colorful—nature helped propel Dallas to the NBA Finals in 2006. The team won the championship in 2011.

Cuban is also featured on “Shark Tank,” an ABC reality show where entrepreneurs present their products to Cuban and other potential investors.

The 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for noon Sunday.