This month and going forward, the Mavs will continue to elevate the experiences and perspectives of Black players, coaches, employees, and fans through various activations and community events.
Dallas is already making history as one of the only sports teams globally with a Black CEO, general manager, assistant general manager and head coach. These game-changing men and women have lit a torch for future young Black leaders to also follow their dreams and reach their full potential.
Cynt Marshall is also the first Black woman CEO in the NBA. Meanwhile, Nico Harrison holds the title of both general manager and president of basketball operations with the Mavericks. Michael Finley is an NBA champion (2007) and the Mavs’ assistant general manager and assistant VP of basketball operations. Jason Kidd is a hall of fame point guard, NBA champ (2011) and the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks.
This month, the Mavericks will also highlight a new generation of young Black men and women who are rising in the organization and continue to make a difference.
“Each year the Dallas Mavericks celebrate Black History in a variety of ways that include our players, fans, partners and community,” said Katie Edwards, Dallas Mavs SVP of External Affairs. “This year, we are not only helping students and fans learn about Black History and its lasting legacy, but also carrying forward our commitment towards social justice in today’s world.”
Externally, the Mavs are committed to standing in solidarity with the community and country to celebrate Black History Month with numerous events and initiatives.
“Black history has always been American history,” said Gail O’Bannon, Dallas Mavericks VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Black History Month is an opportunity for us to highlight and amplify contributions and sacrifices African Americans have made in building this country. In 2020 we made a public commitment to the black community through our Mavs Take Action (MTA) Pledge. We are still committed to listen, learn and unite with our DFW communities! We continue to address racial inequities and disparities, promote social justice initiatives and drive sustainable change.”
O’Bannon is one of the longest-tenured women of the Dallas Mavericks after starting her career in the ticket sales and service department. She was later promoted to lead the team’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, a position she still holds today.
Last March, she was selected by the Dallas Business Journal as a 2021 Leaders in Diversity honoree. She was chosen thanks to her relentless and exceptional commitment to promoting practices that advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
O’Bannon said Black History Month is a year-round effort with the Mavs. The focus of the next 28 days will specifically acknowledge and recognize the contributions of Black leaders within the organization, NBA and the local community.
The Mavs will take collective action to demonstrate the franchise’s commitment to building a more just, equal, and inclusive future.
O’Bannon said it’s essential for the Mavs to use the platform of basketball to amplify diverse voices and invest in Black youth programs and future leaders.
“Fair inclusion, it’s the right thing to do,” O’Bannon shared. “We are investing in future leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, skilled workers and the list goes on and on. These young people need support, and if we can use our platform to amplify the message of fair inclusion by bringing attention to public policy, education, criminal justice, employment, child welfare and healthcare, it’s just the right thing to do.”
O’Bannon hopes that other companies, organizations and community leaders will also extend their “time, talent and treasure” because “it’s a win for the DFW community.”
This month, the Dallas Mavericks will highlight various leaders within the organization, starting with Kenny Bunch. He’s the Dallas Mavericks Director of Service and Retention and served as co-chair of the Black Employee Network (BEN) for two years.
“Being a Black man in America has its challenges for sure,” Bunch said. “But my entire life, I’ve been impacted by positive Black role models that gave me a personal sense of pride to be young and Black. I’ve always been so proud of our remarkable Black history, and those people who have changed the world, despite the oppression and many challenges they faced. My enrolling in and attending an HBCU, the great Jackson State University, gave me an even deeper sense of pride and joy for the talent, the knowledge, the determination and culture of my Black brothers and sisters.”
To read more on Bunch’s extraordinary journey to the Dallas Mavericks and his advice for future leaders, click here.
Mavs Take ACTION/Black History Month (Month Long)
As part of the Mavs Take ACTION! plan, the Dallas Mavericks honor and celebrate Black History Month with programming, employee engagement activities and on-going investment into the community. This will be a time to honor, highlight and celebrate the legacy and contributions of Black leaders from past to present, while demonstrating the Mavs’ commitment to building a more just, equal and inclusive future.
Internally, O’Bannon said the Mavericks have a full slate of activities planned for the franchise.
“We are celebrating all 28 days during Black History Month,” she said. “Our Black History Month Committee, CSR and Mavs Take Action team have planned several activities, initiatives and campaigns throughout the month. Our staff, MFFLs and our DFW community will have an opportunity to engage with us throughout the entire month and beyond. Our Black Employee Network (BEN) ERG will host several initiatives. This month is an opportunity to build deeper relationships and connect with allies and colleagues. Getting to know one another through sharing, listening and learning, this is an opportunity to interrupt those unconscious biases. You’ll be surprised how much we all have in common.”
ilooklikeLOVE Donation Drive, Mavs Black Employee Network ERG | Month Long
ilooklikeLOVE serves the Dallas community and surrounding areas through its signature program called the Mobile Diaper Pantry. As the first mobile diaper pantry in North Texas, Mobile Diaper Pantry distributes diapers, wipes and other baby care essentials to families in need via community-wide diaper distributions, emergency assistance, community partnerships, and disaster recovery efforts. The Pantry has distributed over 600,000 diapers since services began in 2017. Mavs’ employees and season ticket holders will collectively donate items to this organization to help support their efforts.
Note: Mavs Fans can give their support by donating items from https://www.amazon.com/baby-reg/ilooklikelove-inc-february-2022-dallas/FSTG8KC1X2HX
Mavs.com/LearningAssist (Month Long)
Mavs Learning Assist was created as a resource for parents and teachers at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to aid in at-home learning, providing fun and interactive resources for virtual learning. The Mavs have continued this effort by providing continuous education resources throughout the year for fans of all ages. During the month of January and February, activities and resources will be added in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. and the celebration and education of Black History.
Girl Scouts Black History Month Patch powered by the Dallas Mavericks | Dec. 31-Feb. 28
The Dallas Mavericks have pledged $150,000 over three years to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas to support their diversity, equity and inclusion programming for women and girls in North Texas. Throughout the month of February, the Mavs will highlight the Black History Month patch, powered by the Dallas Mavericks, designed to help Girl Scouts of all backgrounds learn about Black History Month and appreciate the contributions of Black Americans.
Mavs Black History Month Art Contest | Jan. 17-Feb. 21
To honor Black History and inspire future change makers, the Dallas Mavericks are encouraging students to create and submit a visual medium that interprets the beliefs of past and present black leaders and how they inspired others to unite and join hands for justice. Students 8th-12th grade in the DFW area will submit their art for a chance to win AA Advantage points to visit a location rich in Black History, have their art featured on the concourse during a Dallas Mavericks home game, recognized on court with a Dallas Mavericks Player, and be featured in the African American Museum of Dallas.
Breaking Bread and Building Bridges | Feb. 1
Breaking Bread & Building Bridges is a program of The Thanks-Giving Foundation and Café Momentum in collaboration with the Dallas Police Department, Project Unity, The Dallas Mavericks, the University of North Texas at Dallas, and The Dallas Morning News. Dallas police officers, Café Momentum interns, representatives from the Dallas Mavericks, and community faith leaders will be joined by selected civic, governmental, and philanthropic catalysts.
The HUDDLE: Social Justice in Today’s World | Feb. 1
Join National Basketball Social Justice Coalition Executive Director James Cadogen for his conversation with Mavs wing Sterling Brown on what social justice means to him and how to take ACTION! now. The HUDDLE is a monthly gathering that creates a safe space for dialogue and the opportunity for individuals to learn and unite with a diverse group of current and former Dallas Mavericks players, team representatives and community figures with the goal of eliminating racial divides, uplifting communities and empowering future generations. The feature story recap of the event is posted here.
Moments in Black History with the Mavs, in partnership with American Airlines | February Home Games
In partnership with American Airlines, the Dallas Mavericks will present Moments in Black History with the Mavs. Video features from players and coaches will describe impactful moments in Black History that have left a lasting impression, along with American Airlines executives and staff. Fans are encouraged visit mavs.com/blackhistory throughout the month for updated videos and resources.
D.W. Carter High School Cheer Team Recognition | Feb. 6
D.W. Carter High School Varsity Cheer, and its 13 members, are ranked ninth in the State of Texas this season. The team is currently fifth in the nation, and they are the first all-Black 4A team to place at UIL. The Dallas Mavericks are supporting their trip to reach their financial goal to travel to Florida for Nationals. Last month, the team received coaching from Mavs CEO, Cynt Marshall, and the dance team D-Town Crew. They will attend the Mavericks vs. Hawks game on February 6th.
Mavs Reading Challenge Reading Timeout presented by Whataburger | Feb. 11
The Dallas Mavericks will virtually visit Adelle Turner Elementary School for a Reading Timeout. Adelle Turner was selected as the Mavs TAKE ACTION! adopted school through 2023. The multi-year Mavs Adopt-A-School program will allow the franchise to support the students and teachers by providing them with resources and encouragement to make it a successful year for everyone.
Girls Scouts of NETX Black History Month Patch Pre-game Party | Feb. 12
The Girl Scouts of NETX will host a pre-game party before the Mavericks vs. Clippers game on Feb. 12, which is also the franchise’s African American Heritage Night. Girls in attendance at the pre-game event will participate in activities such as educational puppet shows, crafts and learning activities to help them earn their Black History Month Patch, powered by the Dallas Mavericks. The girls will also receive a special surprise from Dallas Mavericks CEO, Cynt Marshall.
Mavericks vs. Clippers, African American Heritage Night | Feb. 12
Throughout the night the Dallas Mavericks will celebrate African American Heritage, presented by Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey. A pre-game party will be hosted in the Jack Daniels Club for fans, with Texas Southern Band performing at halftime.
ATT Tech Donation at For Oak Cliff | Feb. 16
The Mavericks will provide further support For Oak Cliff and donate a computer lab to their new location. The Mavericks will be installing a mural, donating technology, and furniture for the facility. There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reveal the new space.
Mavericks Black Employee Network ERG Lunch and Learn | Feb. 17
The Black Employee Network (BEN) will host a lunch and learn for Mavericks staff with Nicka Smith, a professional genealogist. The lunch and learn will discuss Black history and the importance of knowing your family history.
Shop Talk with Irving Police Department | Feb. 21
Shop Talk is a community outreach program designed for residents who would not normally attend community town halls, but have a desire and need to have their voices heard. In order to facilitate those conversations, the Irving Police Department has formed a barbershop outreach to have an open and honest dialogue with the community in an environment where they feel comfortable.
Mavs Gaming Black History Month Panel: Black to Esports | Feb. 25
Mavs GG CommUNITY will host an exclusive Black to Esports panel for Paul Quinn College at the Mavs Gaming Hub. The panel will address the lack of representation of men and women of color in Esports and highlight career path opportunities for students interested in Esports. Panelist will include male/female black influencers in esports, content creators, athletes, and GMs.