In his article for The Players Tribune, Mavs forward Harrison Barnes opens up about a dinner that could change the way he approaches making an impact in the community.
Barnes’ first experience in Dallas after signing with the Mavericks was attending the memorial service for slain Dallas officers. Key members of the local government, police service, and philanthropic communities were in attendance as well. That afternoon left a deep impression on all who watched it, but then-DPD Chief David Brown’s speech resonated in particular with Barnes, who was new to the Dallas community but also felt the desire to contribute his own efforts toward building a bridge between all that divides us.
“I walked away from that experience saddened by the tragedy, but impressed by the warmth and solidarity of everyone I met,” Barnes writes. “Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about what my role in this new city might look like.”
Barnes describes a dinner he planned and hosted, which included big-time members from all corners of the Dallas community, including the Mavs’ own Michael Finley, Cowboys great Emmitt Smith, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, former mayor Ron Kirk, Brown, leaders from the city’s largest employers, lawyers, and investors.
Barnes writes that Kirk gave him the best advice of them all. “Whatever you do,” he said, “Stick with it. Be present.”
“I nodded in agreement,” Barnes writes. “I could see he wasn’t expecting an answer right away.”
That’s Barnes’ way of saying that any impact he can make in this community will take years to develop and implement. No one can affect change in one day or even one year, but Barnes has said he’s committed to doing whatever he can to help solve the many issues he and others believe this city faces.
The article speaks for itself, frankly. Read it in full here.
Barnes in general has been very outspoken — in a positive way — since joining the Mavericks. He’s kept a season-long “Bright Futures” diary in partnership with BBVA Compasss; I’d highly recommend checking those out here.
In the short time that he’s been part of this community, the 24-year-old Barnes has already proven to be wise beyond his years, understanding of the issues at hand, and enthusiastic about helping causes close to his heart. He’s smart, he’s measured, and he’s focused. On top of that, he’s been a heck of a basketball player this season, too. You can’t ask for much more from a face of the franchise.