Mark Cuban has long maintained his status as an independent. In fact, during this election cycle, Cuban has played both sides. After Donald Trump declared his initial candidacy last spring, Cuban called his fellow billionaire "probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time."
For Monday night's presidential debate, the Clinton campaign gave Cuban a front-row seat to heckle Trump. And he took advantage of it.
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) September 27, 2016
During the debate, moderator Lester Holt pressed Trump to explain why he has not released his tax returns. Trump claimed he will release his tax returns after the audit is complete. Holt noted an ongoing audit does not disallow an individual from showing one's tax returns.
Clinton fired back: "First, maybe he's not as rich as he says he is; second, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims to be; third, we don't know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks -- or maybe, he doesn't want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he's paying nothing in federal taxes."
Clinton also noted the only time the public has seen Trump's tax returns was in the 1990s and that instance proved Trump paid no federal income tax.
"That makes me smart," Trump said.
Cuban waited patiently for his moment in the spin room. Then he tore into Trump's tax comments.
— Stefan Becket (@becket) September 27, 2016
"I get audited every year my taxes are…it takes me 45 minutes just to sign all the different taxes that I have to spend," Cuban said. "And I tell my tax lawyers and everybody, do what the law recommends. But I'm not against paying taxes. And I'll give you a perfect example. When the Dallas Mavericks were building a new practice facility, which was just opening, I had the opportunity to go to Dallas and and play different cities against each other to get different rebates and everything. I didn't do it. A couple years ago we had some issues in Dallas, I just wrote a check to the general treasury. This year, after the shootings in Orlando, I had concerns about the LGBT community in Dallas. I just wrote a million dollar check to the city of Dallas to support a bunch of different programs. I'm, I'm the luckiest guy in the world. There's nobody who's been as blessed as me and my family, so far, knock on wood, is healthy, and at some point you have to recognize you have to give back. And you have to realize that this is a country that's been great to us. And you can't just take, take, take, take, take, take."
Cuban also criticized Trump saying, "He's like that friend you have that's easy to pick on and just says crazy things. He's been saying the exact same things for 30 years."
Mark Cuban is in the debate spin room: "It's just fun to pick on Donald Trump ..." pic.twitter.com/XQ4dmOCM0N
— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) September 26, 2016
Cuban was apparently a sight to see in the spin room.
Mark Cuban summarizes the night from the spin room: "I'm not running for president. You think I would go through this bullshit?"
— Sam Frizell (@Sam_Frizell) September 27, 2016
"Oh, here comes Don King. That's going to be fun." -Mark Cuban, in the Hofstra spin room. #debates
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) September 26, 2016
At #debates "spin room," Mark Cuban says he wanted to bring his daughter, but he has been getting threats and decided not to bring her.
— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) September 26, 2016
Mark Cuban told reporters in spin room he didn't coordinate tweet with Clinton camp about showing up in front row debate night #Debates2016
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) September 26, 2016
Spotted in the spin room: a big Mark Cuban-Katrina Pierson hug.
— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) September 27, 2016
— Mona Salama (@MonaSalama_) September 26, 2016
The Mavericks open the preseason Saturday against the Pelicans.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.