Mavs’ owner helps raise funds for fallen vets |

Mavs’ owner helps raise funds for fallen vets

William Ferchland
Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily Tribune Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban flashes a smile at the autograph fund-raiser for the Fallen Patriot Fund at the Horizon Resort Casino.

STATELINE – More than $590,000 was raised during the American Century Championship for the Fallen Patriot Fund to help a marine severely injured in Iraq while he attempted to disarm an explosive device.

The Fallen Patriot fund is an arm of the Mark Cuban Foundation and helps families of the military personnel killed or severely injured during the war in Iraq.

Chuck Peterson, a Sacramento Kings fan, bid $25,000 for Cuban’s services as a caddie during an auction Wednesday that raised $130,000.

The two appeared together for a Thursday press conference at the American Century Championship.

As usual, Cuban opened it up with some humor.

“This is Chucky P. and Marky C. We’ll be appearing tonight at (Club) Nero,” Cuban said.

“No one cheats better than me,” he continued. “And once word got out, it was to see that when we auctioned off my services as a caddie I was going to be in high demand.”

Peterson said his handicap is a 13 and had an idea of how Cuban could help.

“If he can get me a cocktail every once in awhile, I think I’ll do better,” Peterson said.

“His handicap is if he stays out too late I can bring him coffee,” Cuban said.

Camp Pendleton Marine staff Sgt. Mark Graunke, who lost his left eye, hearing, right hand, right leg from the leg down and several units from his left hand, was the beneficiary of the fund.

Graunke said he never quit during recovery.

“To have a bad attitude is just going to alienate everybody who is trying to help you,” he said after thanking Cuban for his generosity.

The press conference provided some room for reporters to ask Cuban if he tried to trade for Shaquille O’Neal, who went to Miami Wednesday.

“There was no way they were trading Shaq to the (Western Conference), there’s just no way,” Cuban said. We put in our calls and made our effort. We ran out the groundball but we were never close.”

Cuban, who co-founded that was sold to Yahoo! in 1999, reiterated his desire to see an NBA team in Las Vegas

“It can’t happen soon enough,” he said. “I think it’s just archaic.”

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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