'Apprentice' Kwame Becoming a Maverick

updated 04/23/2004 at 01:20 PM EDT

originally published 04/30/2004 9:00AM

Forget being hired or fired by The Donald. Kwame's got an offer from The Mark.

After considering several offers, Harvard MBA Kwame Jackson said during a taping of CNN's Larry King Live this week that he's close to finalizing a deal to work with billionaire mogul Mark Cuban.

"It's going to take quite a bit of time to flush out the details," Jimmy Floyd, Jackson's manager, tells PEOPLE.

Cuban's offer includes handling an investment portfolio and working on operations for the Dallas Mavericks, the basketball team owned by Cuban, according to reports.

Ironically, Cuban also is creating his own reality TV show, called The Benefactor. Contestants will live in a plush Dallas home for several weeks, hoping to earn Cuban's favor and a $1 million prize.

But Cuban bristled when he heard Donald Trump call it a copycat of The Apprentice. Writing in his personal Web log, Cuban states in an open letter to Trump: "The Benefactor is going to be nothing like The Apprentice. Why? Because, Donald, we are not alike in any way. The funny thing is, in some respects, I have you to thank for that."

After describing his 1999 intro to The Donald, Cuban continues: "After leaving your office, I promised myself that if I ever got liquid and had an obscene amount of money in the bank, I would make a point not to remind myself and everyone else around me of it every minute of every day – unlike you."

And now he's hiring Kwame – also unlike Trump.

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