Each morning he awakes to news of more lives lost, countless homes destroyed, and horrific images of scorched animals clutching each other as they raced to escape the deadly blazes.
Most importantly, he says he can’t shake the thoughts of his family.
Broekhoff’s mom and sisters have not evacuated, but smoky air hovers above the orange sky and continues to lower their air quality. He said his family is among the lucky ones, however, as many Australians remain gripped in a state of uncertainty.
“It’s our home country, and we need to find ways to give back,” said Broekhoff, a native of Frankston, a seaside suburb of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia.
The second-year Mavs veteran shooting guard is currently nursing a fracture in his left fibula, but he’s quick to recognize that his NBA platform and voice are critical for relief efforts.
“We feel privileged enough in our careers that we can use our voices and hopefully raise enough awareness to get some people to donate and make a difference,” Broekhoff said. “We also want to remind the firefighters and those risking their lives that we are supporting them.”
Additionally, the Mavericks announced plans today to shine the light on their efforts at Saturday night’s game (Jan. 11, 2020). Broekhoff and fellow Aussies Jonah Bolden and Ben Simmons will address the crowd before tipoff at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks also launched a website at Mavs.com/AussieRelief to serve as a landing page for fans to learn more about the Australian bushfires, with a direct link to a donation page.
Both the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers have numerous connections to Australia.
Philly’s Brett Brown is the head coach of the Australian national team and lived there for 17 years. He will lead the Aussies at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Jamahl Mosley also played professional basketball in Australia for two seasons. Ben Hunt, director of the Mavs Basketball Academy, also hails from Australia and played two seasons in the Australian National Basketball League.
Saturday morning, the Mavericks pledged their support and announced a donation to the Australian NBA Players Bushfire Relief Fund in support of the Australian Red Cross and are encouraging fans to join.
“Australia has a piece of our hearts, for Ryan, but also for our staff who have family there and for all of our fans and friends who call Australia home,” said Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. “We are happy to join Ryan and the other Aussie NBA players with a donation in support of first responders, wildlife, and all those affected. The devastation is huge and challenging times are ahead, but we will unite as a family to support the people of Australia.”
Broekhoff said team owner Mark Cuban and Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki also joined his efforts to raise funds and bring awareness to the devastation taking place in Australia.
“Cuban is really excited to donate, and I spoke with Dirk today, and he’s jumping on board,” he added.
“It’s amazing how the NBA and the NBA community come together for disasters like this, and the NBA Players Association has been a big help in matching funds. It really is the whole community: players, teams, staff, everyone is lending support. It’s affected us, but I think it’s affecting everyone around the league.”
Broekhoff noted that the NBA is ‘definitely a brotherhood,’ and he looks forward to seeing Bolden and Simmons on Saturday night. He played a national team series with Simmons when “Ben was around 16 years old” and Broekhoff has enjoyed watching Simmons evolve into a great player.
“Ben is really a great guy, with a good head on his shoulders,” Broekhoff said. “You can see from his social media how much this has affected him, and he’s taken on a big role in bringing awareness, so it’s going to be nice Saturday to come together and use our voices to bring awareness and provide outreach.”
Other Australians joining Broekhoff, Bolden and Simmons are Matthew Dellavedova and Dante Exum (Cleveland Cavaliers), Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz), Thon Maker (Detroit Pistons) and Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs).
“We are heartbroken over the devastation these fires are causing all across our homeland,” the players said in a joint statement. “Our thoughts are with our families, friends and all of the people of Australia. We hope you feel our love and support and know that we will continue to bring awareness to this crisis globally and provide assistance in any way we can.”
Broekhoff says he’s seen the outpouring of support from Dallas Mavericks fans over the years, and he’s confident Saturday will be a special evening to come together on the world’s stage to lend support for Australia.
“We want them to know that we care, and we are finding ways to send help your way. We can’t replace the lives and land lost or the treasured items. But we want Australians to know that we do care, and we are doing our best to help out, and hopefully, this will aid them in efforts to rebuild.”
Sherrie Deans, executive director of the NBPA Foundation, said, “Our players have a deep connection to the places where they grew up and have always responded with generosity and compassion in the aftermath of disasters. The Foundation’s board is committed to extending our long-standing support of players’ financial contributions in response to disasters through this joint effort.”
To learn more about the Australian relief efforts or donate, visit Mavs.com/AussieRelief.com.