The award recognizes players each month who best reflect the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
Dončić was selected thanks to his relentless commitment to the greater Dallas community and willingness to step up and assist his neighbors in need during the global pandemic and recent winter blast that swept through the North Texas community.
The Slovenian has elected to support the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation should he win the $10,000 award donated by Kaiser Permanente and the NBA to winners each month.
“Luka Dončić has been an all-star on and off the court,” said Emily Luth, Dallas Mavericks community relations manager. “Many times, throughout the ever-changing environment of the past season, Dončić showed immediate support for those in need. In addition to his financial contributions and moral boosting messages – Luka is also an all-star with his fans and youth in the community.”
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award is one the highest off-court honors any NBA player can receive. 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.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dončić has been involved in supporting healthcare workers in the Dallas community. Just last week, he donated 100 pairs of Air Jordan 1 shoes and Mavs swag to vaccination workers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
The goal was to provide them with new shoes to wear, but even more — to boost morale and hope after the medical workers have spent over a year battling this pandemic along the frontlines.
“I wish (that) I could be there in person,” Dončić shared in a pre-recorded video. “But I just want to say that I have one pair of Jordans for each one of you. I’m really excited to do that. Thank you for everything that you did during this pandemic and go Mavs!”
In February, Texas was hit by a winter storm that shut down the state and caused millions to lose power and water for several days. The effects of that storm are still being felt today as some still do not have clean water and others are repairing the damage the storm caused.
Dončić teamed up with other players, Mark Cuban and the Mavs Foundation to contribute $1.25 million towards much needed storm relief. Luka himself donated $30,000 to the Mayor’s relief fund to be distributed for emergency relief and shelter through the city.
Prior to the 2020 Covid restrictions, Dončić was often found pulling fans from the stands to join him on the court during warm ups, and was proud to sign autographs for youth whenever he got the chance. He desired to continuously created memorable experiences for those who cheer him on each game.
The Slovenian sensation has also contributed his time to fan meet and greets and sessions for the Mavs Foundation to auction, raising funds for women, children and families in need in North Texas.
“Luka is a kid at heart when it comes to joining in with youth,” Luth said. “He has been a star at Mavericks Jr. NBA camps, NBA Cares service projects and will host an April virtual Jr. NBA clinic with the Mavs Academy.”
Throughout the past year, Dončić has been quick to respond and support those tirelessly serving during the pandemic, Luth shared.
He personally donated $50K himself and joined other Mavericks players and the Mavs Foundation to provide a total of $550K to hospitals in the region to support their childcare needs.
Another example of Luka stepping up was leading the Mavericks’ Feeding the Fight campaign. This campaign aimed to support local restaurants through the purchase of meals that were sent to healthcare workers on the front line.
Dončić provided dinner on multiple nights to those on the COVID-19 ICU floors. His donation, and those of his teammates, lead to 4,380 meals delivered to frontline workers at the beginning of the pandemic.
Dončić’s latest donation of Jordan shoes to vaccination workers adds to the story of his continued support of the frontline workers throughout this entire year and immediate reaction to contribute where he can.
“Luka is continuously supporting the community that knows and loves him in Dallas,” Luth shared. “We look forward to the great things to come from the young star in the arena and in the community.”
Dončić was also behind a viral video last season when a 9-year-old boy named Brayden Whitley was lifted out of the stands by Mavs assistant coach Darrell Armstrong and got to meet his hero. The video has nearly three million views.
@dallasmavs assistant coach Darrell Armstrong spots a boy holding a sign in the crowd about being seizure-free and helps a young fan meet @luka7doncic. “I’m actually going to meet Luka?” the boys says. #MFFL #Mavs #thisiswhyweplay @NBA #LukaMagic #lukadoncic pic.twitter.com/wVpPZFhQnV
— Dorothy J. Gentry (@DorothyJGentry) January 3, 2020
“I was thinking, ‘am I going to meet Luka? Am I going to meet Luka?’” Whitley recalled.
While warming up at the free-throw line, Doncic paused for a picture with Whitley. But, the amazing journey didn’t end there. After the game, he got one more special encounter.
“Luka Doncic came over, untied his shoes, taking them off, signed both of them and gave them to me,” Whitley said.
— Mavs Care (@MavsCare) January 3, 2020
The family says Doncic had already given Brayden a special gift: a healthier life.
Brayden has a seizure disorder. His mother, Bekah Whitley, says he suffers from partial complex seizures of the right frontal lobe.
Armstrong said Mavs CEO Cynt Marshall saw Whitley’s sign and asked if a meeting with Doncic could happen.
“I don’t usually like to mess with guys when they are in their routine before the game,” Armstrong said. “But I do know how Luka, his heart, how he likes to sign for people, so I just ran over there and grabbed him out of the stands.”
This magical Mavs moment shows the kind of role model Doncic has become for children and he will continue this love when fans and players are able to interact again.
“A lot of superstars, they don’t like to sign, you know, but Luka does all the time,” Armstrong said. “He signs. I always tell people you just never know what a smile or a greeting to somebody can do for their life.”
THANK YOU to all healthcare workers. Appreciate all you do! 🙏🙏 https://t.co/co3aRdfpUG
— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) March 23, 2021
ABOUT THE NBA CARES COMMUNITY ASSIST AWARD
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities, and honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. Last season, Mavericks veteran Dwight Powell was named one of five recipients for the yearlong 2019-20 NBA Cares Community Assist Award, becoming the first player in franchise history to win the season award.