After missing a wide-open layup in Monday’s preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kleber knew the brutal roasting from his teammates would continue on the golf course Tuesday. And it did.
“That’s alright,” Kleber said while laughing. “I deserve it. I deserve it.”
Decked out in striped blue and white golf polos – and sweatpants for Luka Dončić – Mavs players and coaches gathered at Hackberry Creek Country Club for the 33rd annual Mavs Masters before the team jetted to Vancouver on Wednesday for the NBA Canada Series.
“These corporate guys are much more supportive than my own teammates,” Kleber quipped, after nearly sinking a 25-foot par putt on the 11th green that received cheers, fist pumps and high-fives from his foursome.
The Mavs Masters is an annual appreciation event for Mavs’ corporate sponsors and partners. The tournament is an all-day event where players and coaches pair up with various corporate sponsor groups and spend time getting to know one another in a relaxed, upbeat atmosphere.
“Ryan Broekhoff has all the gear, so he thinks he’s really good,” rookie Isaiah Roby said. “He tried to tell me, ‘You look good, you play good,’ so I’m going to try and see what he’s got.
“They’ve been talking noise all week. I think J. J. Barea is really good, too.”
Roby said he was thrilled to be back on the golf course, a place where he spent many afternoons in high school. The small forward from Dixon, Ill., said he played at a $5 course with his buddies and believes the game provided him calmness and peace in the midst of a hectic athletic and academic schedule.
“I never had clubs that fit me, but I could drive and putt really well,” Roby added. “But getting clubs that could fit was always my problem.
“I got some today and the equipment makes my game a lot better. I really love the game.”
When Mavs forward Justin Jackson was in the fairway on the sixth hole, he was laughing and joking, but ready to toss in the towel and pack up his clubs.
“My golf game is a little rough, but it’s always fun to interact with new people,” he said. “The guys I’m playing with are really supportive and a big part of what we do.
“Golf is so peaceful, and it’s been a really cool event.”
Just like Roby, Jackson said his team is full of solid golfers.
“I’ve heard Seth (Curry) is good, Jalen Brunson, Ryan Broekhoff, J. J. Barea and some others. But not me, not me.”
At the conclusion of the Mavs Masters, a special ceremony took place in the clubhouse with dinner, autographed giveaways and a special appearance by some players and team executives.
Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, head coach Rick Carlisle, power forward Kristaps Porzingis and guard Delon Wright attended the ceremony, hosted by FOX Sports Southwest play-by-play announcer Mark Followill.
“We had our fourth preseason game Monday, which was a good game,” Carlisle shared with the audience. “The first three (games) were a little up and down.
“Preseason is always challenging because you have some guys with aches and pains and we’re trying to get guys like Kris and Delon and Luka playing together, getting that chemistry together. Fortunately all the guys have been able to play in the games and that’s been really good. I really like our team.”
It will be back to work on Thursday night in Vancouver, Canada, with the preseason finale. But for a day, it was nice to get away from basketball.
“It’s always good to step off the basketball court with your teammates and have a little fun and get refocused,” he said. “We all enjoyed this day. It’s been really special.”