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Totally Random

February 18, 2009 |  8:00 pm

Mark Cuban, left, and Michael Redd.

Never one to be shy, the blogger called his entry “The Mark Cuban Stimulus Plan."

For many sports fans, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks is a real-life cartoon character. Cuban sits behind the Mavericks bench and leans in during timeouts, gets into arguments with players and fans, and seems to draw as many NBA fines as Rasheed Wallace does technical fouls.

But Cuban is money smart. Just before the 1999 dot.com bust he sold his Internet video firm to Yahoo for $5.7 billion.

And, last week on blogmaverick.com, Cuban wrote that he wanted to "get the ball rolling and create jobs" by investing in small businesses. Cuban invited readers to e-mail their business plans. He promised to invest in those plans that he liked.

The post triggered more than 1,400 responses with such wildly different business plans as retail stores that would sell green products, software for law enforcement agencies, texting systems to hail cabs, and an online metal and plastic parts firm.

Cuban expects to invest in two of the firms within the next two weeks, and hopes to subsequently fund five additional plans. He will invest from a minimum of $20,000 to more than $100,000 in each plan.

“Maybe it leads to great things, maybe it leads to nothing," he wrote. "We will find out.”

Trivia time

Who has earned more in his NBA career: Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett?

Who’s on first?

The World Baseball Classic starts in two weeks and the Dominican Republic, with a provisional roster of Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Reyes, David Ortiz and Alfonso Soriano, is the favorite to win the tournament at almost even money, according to beted.com. The U.S. is next at almost 2-1, followed by Japan, 7-1, then Cuba and Venezuela at 9-1.

The gambling site doesn’t offer such side bets as whether any Cuban players will defect.

Trivia answer

Garnett’s career NBA pay, including this season, totals $234.9 million compared to Bryant's $148.3 million, according to Basketball-reference.com and Hoopshype.com.

And finally

During the All-Star break, Cavaliers forward Ben Wallace was playing football in the street when he suffered a big gash in his right forearm that required 14 stitches.

In Wallace’s honor, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Branson Wright came up with a list of weird athlete injuries, including: “In 1990, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Glenallen Hill had such a bad dream that he missed his team’s game the next night due to cuts and scrapes suffered while trying (or at least he thought) to fight off spiders.”

-- Barry Stavro

Photo: Mavs owner Mark Cuban, left, reacts after the Bucks' Michael Redd, right, scored during a Jan. 21 game in Milwaukee. Credit: Morry Gash / Associated Press

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