SALT LAKE CITY — Mark Cuban sees the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity for entrepreneurs and businesses to try something new, including the NBA when and if the league picks up its suspended season.
“Rather than looking at this as an ‘oh, no’ it is really an opportunity for entrepreneurs to say, ‘Why not or why not this or I have a vision. Let’s give it a try,’” he said Tuesday on KSL Newsradio’s “Dave and Dujanovic.”
Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, hasn’t ruled out running for president in a post-coronavirus “America 2.0,” which he says presents a unique opportunity for businesses and individuals to reshape the country.
Cuban said Tuesday morning he has more than a sliver of hope the NBA will resume games this season, including playoffs.
“It may look totally different than it has in the past, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “This reset gives every business a chance to do something differently, and the NBA can try some new things.”
Calling it a unique opportunity, Cuban said the league could play later into the summer and try some different television formats and broadcasts, which would make it more interesting. Games most likely would initially be played in empty arenas.
When the league does come back, it will be safety first, he said. There’s no way it would put any players, employees or fans at risk, he said.
“We saw what happened with Rudy and Donovan, and it wasn’t pleasant for them and we don’t need anybody else going through that experience,” Cuban said.
He was referring to Utah Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, both of whom were diagnosed with COVID-19. Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for the novel coronavirus, which led to the league quickly shutting down March 11. Both players have recovered.
Businesses should be scrubbing down their offices in preparation for opening their doors again, Cuban said.
“When we all go back to work, and we will, that first time you walk into that big conference room at the office, everybody’s going to be a little nervous,” he said.
The Mavericks are putting together a new program for cleanliness, sterilization and sanitation at the team’s arena, including software programs using augmented reality that show when the last time a chair or handrail was cleaned, he said.
Innovation will speed up the way for the country to come back, Cuban said. By being proactive and entrepreneurial, great ideas will emerge to allow people to regain the confidence they had before the pandemic hit.
“It’s a great opportunity for everybody, Utahns, Americans, everybody,” he said. “If you have a vision for the way things should be when we come back, there’ll be no better time to try and innovate and create a new company to take advantage of it.”
As for small businesses currently struggling to stay afloat, Cuban, who has invested in 150 small companies through the TV show “Shark Tank,” advised going to a local bank and applying for the federal Paycheck Protection Program. Congress created the $350 billion program to get money as quickly as possible to small businesses to keep workers employed.
“That’s an absolute given. If your business is suffering at all, that’s your first step,” he said, adding owners might need to be persistent and patient if the process is slow.
Cuban also said business owners must be transparent with their employees and explain to them the situation.
“By being honest with them, that gives you the best chance to get through this,” he said.