Former Mt. Lebanon resident stressed bond of family to sons
Norton Cuban quietly moved from the Pittsburgh area to Dallas in the early 2000s, shortly after one of his three sons, Mark, not-so-quietly purchased the Dallas Mavericks.
Norton, a working-class man who owned an auto trim shop in Mt. Lebanon with his brother Marty until the late 1990s, got to travel the world and celebrate the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship in Miami, thanks to his sons’ successes, Mark’s in particular.
Norton Cuban died Tuesday in Dallas. He was 92.
Mark told the Dallas Morning News earlier this year that his father was in declining health, mostly due to age.
Another Cuban brother, Brian, said Thursday that his father’s heart simply gave out.
“Everyone he met was his friend,” Brian said. “He was charismatic. He took life as it came and he always had a smile. He was just a very loving, caring person.
“And he absolutely lived for his sons. … Literally, everything he did was for us. That continued up until the last moment.”
Brian said the family already has held a private service.
In contrast to the highly visible life of Mark, and to a lesser extent sons Brian and Jeff, Norton was never in the spotlight.
The Mavericks organization did not announce Norton Cuban’s death, but when word spread Thursday, public condolences poured in to his sons, which in itself was a tribute to Norton.
“I’m glad there is a public celebration of my dad’s life,” Brian said. “This is his obit. I’m glad there is a public celebration because I want people to know what a wonderful, loving, caring person my father was.”
“When Mark hit it big, my dad traveled the world. And you know what? If there was anyone who earned that right, it was my father.”
Norton and Shirley Cuban raised Mark, Brian and Jeff in Mt. Lebanon, although Norton and Shirley eventually separated.
Mark moved to Dallas in 1982, soon followed by Jeff and Brian.
Norton, who also served in the Korean War and managed a Pittsburgh record store early in adulthood, moved to Dallas in the early 2000s, shortly after Mark purchased the Mavericks in January 2000.
During a speech at South by Southwest in 2014, Mark told the audience that he learned his greatest life lesson from Norton.
“My dad is 87; he’s going strong, he’s a machine,” Mark said that day. “My dad says it over and over, ‘Today’s the youngest you’re ever going to be. You’ve got to live like it. You’ve got to live young every day.’ And that’s what I try to do.”
Brian noted that his father was not college educated, which made it all the more imperative to him that his three sons graduate from college. Each of them did.
Norton, too, was one of three siblings, all boys. Like Brian, Norton was the middle son.
“He would stress, ‘No matter where you go in life, no matter what happens, you three take care of each other. You call your brother. You tell your brother you love him. And you make sure your brothers are OK,’” Brian recalled.
“He understood the value of the love of brothers, the bond of family. That was truly a gift that he passed down to us.
“If you want to know how that [manifested] now, in 2018, up until the day he passed, 1,200 miles from Pittsburgh, Mark, Jeff, my dad and I were walking distance to each other.”
Brian said he is proud that his father got to see him emerge from drug and alcoholaddiction and depression.
Brian has written two books about his struggles and triumphs and said he has been clean for 11 years.
Not surprisingly, Brian said, Norton was instrumental in helping him find himself, and his eventual path.
“When I was struggling before I went into recovery, I needed to be with somebody and I was alone,” Brian said. “I went over and talked to my father, who I had hidden my struggles from very well.
“And I told him what was going on and his words to me were, ‘Brian, move in with me. I love you. We’ll get through this together.’
“That’s who he was.”