By Mary Pilon, Bloomberg Businessweek
The past year has been transformative for the Mavs, including for the players. It’s been a long, hard road since the team last won an NBA championship, in 2011. But in June the team made a smart trade to bring on Luka Doncic, a teenage phenom from Slovenia who’s changed its fortunes completely. As of mid-December, the team was 15-14, its best record at this point in the season since 2015. It would be easy even for close watchers of the team to forget that the organization was in full-throttle crisis mode mere months ago.
Even given the need for change, there was a particular awkwardness to the Mavs’ hiring Marshall, who’d spent more than 30 years working her way up to become head of human resources and chief diversity officer at AT&T Inc., as CEO in February. Whether Cuban’s motives were cynical or not, the optics of a very public white male billionaire asking a woman of color to clean up his mess aren’t great.
Released with the season opener about four weeks away, the report had stirred up still-raw emotions for many in the organization. The mood in the building had been tense that whole week, but on media day, Marshall somehow remained chipper. Standing on a mini basketball court in the office lobby with a Mavs-blue scarf draped around her neck, she looked up from her phone and greeted employees with a smile. “Today is going to be fun!”