By: Joab Nevo
The younger brother of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who had struggled with eating disorders for 27 years and has dedicated himself to spreading awareness of the illness and helping others who suffer from it, hosted a special New York photo exhibit in aid of the cause on Friday, June 21.
Brian Cuban may be known as the younger brother of entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, but the 53 year-old lawyer is also making a name for himself as an authority on male eating disorders. Cuban, who serves on the Advisory Board for nonprofit organization Project HEAL (“Help to Eat, Accept and Live”) and has recently published a memoir reciting his struggles with anorexia and bulimia, took to the stage Friday night to host the nonprofit’s sixth annual fundraising gala.
The highlight of the event, which was held at gastro-lounge EVR in New York, was a breathtaking photo exhibit called “Faces of Recovery” – a collection of black and white photographs by world-renowned photographer Steve Eichner, depicting eating disorder survivors smiling and holding signs that say what recovery means to them, and many of the hundreds of images they inspired over social media.
Brian Cuban battled anorexia and bulimia for 27 years. His journey began in the late 1970s, when the issue was still regarded as taboo, and the publicized struggles of familiar names like singer Karen Carpenter were considered a rarity.
“I was going through this back when no one knew what eating disorders were,” Cuban says. “Karen Carpenter brought eating disorders in the pre-cable era into the national spotlight, but really cemented the stereotype as a women’s disorder.”
Ashamed of his situation, Cuban kept quiet and turned to alcohol and drugs, and even considered suicide. The turning point came in 2007, when, after coming out of a two day blackout, he decided that he “had no more looks into the abyss”, he says.
“The next day I walked into my shrink’s office and finally got honest about my childhood, addictions, and eating disorders. I had been lying to him for years, telling him everything was fine … Once I got honest, everything changed.”
When he decided to go public with his eating disorder, he did it in front of millions on television and newspapers across the world.
“It was a very scary thing to do”, he says. “It was even more scary because of the stigma around eating disorders and body identity issues in men.”
The positive response and support he has encountered pushed Cuban to become a vocal activist in the fight against eating disorders. Last year, he authored a book about his struggles, titled “Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder”. His message to others: Regardless of your age, you can get a fresh start on your life.
“I want people to know that as someone who was 45 before he began his eating disorder recovery, it’s never too late to begin a life free from eating disorders no matter how old you are”, he declares.
Brian Cuban was born on January 11, 1961, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University and his law degree from The University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
He is an authority on male eating disorders, a lawyer, and activist in the areas of First Amendment issues and hate speech. He has discussed hate speech issues in the cyber-bullying and Holocaust denial areas with Facebook management, and has been trying to have pages with names such as “Holocaust: A Series of Lies” and “Holocaust is a Holohoax” removed from Facebook since 2008.
He also serves as Executive Director of the Mark Cuban Foundation, which directly supports the Fallen Patriot Fund. Cuban’s brother Mark started the Fallen Patriot Fund to help families of U.S. militarypersons killed or injured during the Iraq War, personally matching the first $1 million in contributions with funds from the Mark Cuban Foundation.
Cuban also runs a blog called “The Cuban Revolution”, that he uses as a platform to discuss many First Amendment legal battles and news stories, and serves as the segment host for “Brian Cuban’s Legal Briefs” on EyeOpener TV.
*initially published in Jewish Business News