He was a No. 1 draft choice, a three-time NBA All-Star, an
oft-overweight hothead known more for his moods than his moves,
but today, in the Dallas offices of LifeCast.com, the Internet
company he cofounded in 1999, Mark Aguirre, 41, is a savvy
businessman, cool and in control. "Clients assume I'm just there
for p.r. purposes," he says. "Then we start a conversation, and
they realize I know what I'm talking about."
Aguirre, who spent three years at DePaul majoring in
communications but never graduated, became interested in the
Internet in the late 1980s while investing in Source Media, a
fledgling online company. LifeCast, of which he's chairman,
creates websites for country clubs, offering members a variety of
online services. Since site access is restricted by passwords and
members average a salary of $250,000 and a net worth of $1.6
million, LifeCast, which has 120 employees, can guarantee
advertisers a highly desirable audience.
In his college and NBA days, Aguirre, who was an All-America and
Naismith Award winner at DePaul and whom the Dallas Mavericks
made the top pick in the 1981 draft, put up impressive numbers,
averaging 24.5 points a game for the Blue Demons and 20.0 over 13
pro seasons. He was a low-post banger with a sweet shooting
touch, but he also could be a coach's worst nightmare. His stormy
relationship with Dallas coaches, particularly Dick Motta, who
admonished the 6'6" Aguirre about his weight--which was anywhere
between 230 and 250 pounds--and lack of hustle, eventually caused
the Mavs to trade him to the Detroit Pistons, in February '89.
Aguirre went on to win two championship rings as an indispensable
sixth man for the Pistons.
Aguirre's signature scowl is rarely seen these days, especially
around his suburban Dallas five-bedroom home, which is adorned
with an ornate flower garden. ("I love landscaping," he says. "My
wife, Angela, wants nothing to do with it.") It's a full house:
The Aguirres have four daughters--Angelei, Machera, Alana and
Michaela--all 11 or younger.
Still, colleagues say that Aguirre has retained his competitive
edge, a necessity in the business world. When asked what future
projects he and LifeCast are exploring, he's coy. "We're looking
at an extremely scalable opportunity," he says, "which could
bring in several billion dollars. I know that's a bit
ambiguous." He pauses--an if-I-told-you-I'd-have-to-kill-you
silence--and then laughs. This Mark Aguirre sometimes smiles.
COLOR PHOTO: RAEANNE RUBINSTEIN (COVER)
COLOR PHOTO: TOM PENNINGTON He's shed his surliness and is a cool, collected chairman of an Internet company.