Jalen Brunson has been a force to reckon with since he arrived in Dallas four seasons ago. He continues to make strides on and off the court as a champion for children and youth through numerous community outreach endeavors. 

Over the years, Brunson has established several scholarships, hosts camps, speaks at court dedications, creates UNO party prizes and meets the needs of others who are battling impossible odds.

For this reason, the Dallas Mavericks are thrilled to nominate Jalen Brunson for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for March 2022

The NBA Cares Award is one of the greatest honors any NBA player can receive during the season. Each team selects their most charitable player for the month to earn a nomination and then a league committee chooses the player who best reflects the passion that the NBA and its players share for giving back to their communities.

The monthly NBA Cares awards are especially significant this season because the league is celebrating 75 years of creating champions both on and off the court.

Brunson was also named the winner of the March ’22 Chime Community Spotlight Award due to his extraordinary commitment to serving children and youth in North Texas and around the country.

“These last four years, I have been embraced by this Dallas community and couldn’t be more thankful,” Brunson said at the NBA’s 75th Anniversary court dedication this week.

“I think being embraced has also made me want to embrace it and everything the city offers. I couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of a great organization. We have a great fanbase who loves this sport, and it’s been an honor for my family and me. I want to thank everyone for what you’ve done to make me feel at home, even when away from home.”

Brunson’s work in March alone has been spectacular, and the Mavs guard is always eager to serve those in need. He also helped the franchise raise a record-breaking $1.7 million at the annual Mavs Ball in early March, benefitting the Mavs Foundation and the families it serves. Brunson raised an astounding $35,000 at this year’s Mavs Ball for his UNO parties.

The 25-year-old says he was thrilled to join the Mavericks and NBA this week to unveil the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Court at Dallas-based nonprofit For Oak Cliff. The new basketball court is located at the first YMCA ever built in the Southwest for the African American community.

Brunson delivered a standout speech to an overflowing crowd and stood alongside his father, Rick Brunson, who also enjoyed a long NBA career. The unveiling followed with a mini basketball clinic led by the Mavs Academy and a community festival with food trucks and entertainment.

“Whenever I’m asked to show up for something, the answer is never no,” said Brunson, one of the most philanthropic players in the NBA. “I have always said yes and wanted to do something for this community and leave my imprint because it’s bigger than basketball. That’s what the Mavs organization has been about since I first got here.”

Brunson explained to the children how a basketball court has a mighty purpose beyond just a game. It’s the foundation of where dreams and friendships are ignited. A basketball court can launch young people to new heights if they dare to work hard and believe. It’s a refuge to find solace and peace — and purpose.

“I think this court will mean a lot not just to the youth but to your loved ones,” Brunson passionately shared. “My dad played in the NBA for 9 or 10 years, and I lived in many different places. But everywhere I moved, each place had that court where I could go. Not just to work on my game but to enjoy time with friends. It’s a safe place where you can make memories. I know you children will do the same here on this court.”

If you’ve never seen Brunson coach young people, it’s quite the scene. He has a commanding presence, with a unique ability to speak to kids in a way that demands respect, yet is kind and encouraging.

In many respects, Brunson is almost more teacher than coach and his ability to engage with others, regardless of talent, is impressive. He definitely has a gift with young people and the sky is the limit for the four-year NBA vet.

Brunson is a big supporter of the Mavs Foundation, and each year he creates various prizes and auction items to raise money. During the past two years, he’s generated thousands of dollars through his UNO! Champion nights where he hosts kids to raise funds.

In the last week of March, he spent time after two games to visit with children facing life-threatening illnesses through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He gave them encouragement and words of wisdom, thankful to spend a little time with them.

One of the teenagers, Callum Stewart, said Brunson is one of his favorite players on the court. He was thrilled to learn that the Mavs guard “was even kinder and nicer away from the game.”

“We’re always thinking of you, buddy,” Brunson told the teen battling a rare brain tumor. “Thank you for spending your night with us! Hopefully, we made you proud!”


Each year Brunson hosts the Jalen Brunson Skills Academy back at Villanova and at his high school in suburban Chicago.

The camp offers hands-on instruction and basketball skills development for boys and girls between 7 and 13. Two of his camps slated for late June 2022 are already sold-out.

The camps are so popular that even current Mavs players, like Maxi Kleber, are willing to travel in the offseason to work with Brunson and the campers. His parents, Rick and Sandra, are also a big part of the Mavericks’ mission and are invested in the local community. Last summer, Brunson’s mother, Sandra, joined the Mavs to help launch the all-new girls’ group called GEM — Girls Empowered by Mavericks.

“You know what’s crazy? She didn’t even tell me about that,” Brunson shared, noting that his mother is a selfless servant and someone he strives to embody. Just like Jalen, she never desires to seek attention for herself and longs to help her husband and son further their mission to help others.

Sandra was a standout volleyball player at Temple University and helps Brunson with a lot of his community outreach back home. Brunson made it clear during a Trey Athletes event in 2020 that one of the reasons he graduated from Villanova in just three years was because his mom drilled into him the importance of academics. It’s the same message he has for young people today.

The Brunson family pours out countless hours for the Jalen Brunson Skills Academy at his former high school, Adlai Stevenson High School, in Lincolnshire, Illinois. The academy is critical to Jalen because the proceeds over the years support the high school’s KIN Fund (Kids In Need) and provide scholarships to graduating male and female student-athletes who will be attending college in the fall.

Since arriving in the NBA, Brunson’s other personal outreach included Operation Warm, where he funded 100 warm coats for children in need located in Camden, NJ. He’s also provided support at Covenant House Pennsylvania, an organization that provides care and support for homeless young people.

For several years, Jalen Brunson has supported his alma mater by funding scholarships, and he also provides resources to programs that are vital to the Stevenson community.

The Jalen Brunson Patriot Pride Scholarships were established to recognize graduating senior varsity athletes who demonstrate a fervent work ethic, compassion, integrity, and leadership abilities, all of which exemplify Patriot Pride.

The Nathan Halterman Memorial Scholarship was established in honor of Nathan Halterman, a 2015 Stevenson graduate who passed away in 2019. Nathan gave his classmates and friends the gift of perspective and found good in everything he did. An inspirational basketball team manager, Nathan approached each day with joy and gratitude.

Brunson established this scholarship to honor Nathan’s legacy at the school and to celebrate students who, like Nathan, have encouraged and uplifted others through their years at SHS.

Halterman, who lived with muscular dystrophy, passed away in 2019, and Brunson was overwhelmed with emotion after a game.

“He’s been with me,” Brunson said with emotion in a postgame interview with then-Fox Sports Southwest. “I’ve always had a special place in my heart for him… Just for him to live this long and live the life he lived is special, and it’s going to carry with me.”

Later, Brunson wrote on Instagram: “Nathan, you were such an inspiration not just to me but for everyone you came in contact with. Seeing you with a smile on your face every day was a joy to see, even when you were in pain.”

Since then, Nathan has always been a massive part of Brunson’s journey and story in the NBA. His friend is always close to his heart, and Brunson desires to live each day with greater purpose.

“I will miss you, buddy, this hits close to home because you helped bring a team and a community together with your presence,” Brunson wrote. “Thank you for inspiring myself, my friends, and my former teammates. Thank you for being my friend.”

The 6-foot-1 guard has also been fantastic on the court this season, helping the Mavs garner the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference this week as the NBA closes out the regular season.

Brunson’s selfless play extends both on and off the court, showing no signs of fatigue.

He was one of the first Mavs players to return to the community this summer when teams opened the doors to host in-person youth clinics. Brunson’s camp appearance was was one of the largest attended, with a dozen media members attending to catch up with the guard.

When asked why he returned to Dallas just for Mavs Hoop Camps, Brunson didn’t hesitate one second.

“Being consistent is the best part of being who I am,” Brunson said.

It’s no secret that Brunson was one of the “steals” of the 2018 NBA Draft. After leading Villanova to two NCAA titles in three years and being named the consensus College Player of the Year in 2018 and a consensus first-team All-American that season, Brunson was primed to enter the draft as one of its most precious commodities. He has soared past anyone’s expectations — well, except for his own. Brunson always believed in himself.

Four years later, now NBA coaches and general managers are fawning all over Brunson, who hopes to lead the Mavs to new heights this playoff season. Working hard and being the underdog has always been in his DNA.

“It’s something that I always just set out for myself (and) it’s something that’s always in the back of my mind,” Brunson said. “I want to work like I want to be the best player. I’m going to keep working. That’s my mentality when I’m in the gym by myself. But when it comes to team time, I will do whatever is best for the team. That’s how I’ve always been, that’s how I was raised, and that’s how it will be for me.”

And working in the community will always be a central mission for Brunson and his entire family. He’s leading by example and continues to serve as a shining example of servanthood leadership for the Dallas Mavericks and the whole NBA community.

Just like Nathan taught him.

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