Team chemistry can grow in many ways, even some that have nothing to do with running thousands of pick-and-rolls.
For the Mavericks, bonding has not taken a timeout during the COVID-19 stoppage of sports and disruption of life. It has continued with their giving back to those on the front line of the battle against the deadly virus.
Owner Mark Cuban, coach Rick Carlisle, Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, the legendary Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the roster are picking up tabs for breakfast, lunch and dinner for workers at Dallas’ coronavirus testing sites and Emergency Operation Center.
In collaboration with numerous local restaurants, the Mavericks began sending meals to the sites on Sunday and will continue doing so at least through the rest of this week.
And while players, coaches and the owner donate thousands of dollars for the meals, numerous front-office members are coordinating the delivery process and making sure that all sites are serviced without any overlap.
“I love that all our guys are stepping up,” Cuban said. “We have always known we have a great group of guys with amazing team chemistry.
“But this is truly showing a grasp that they understand that there is a world out there that is bigger than basketball.”
Like everybody else that falls under the umbrella of “non-essential personnel,” the Mavericks’ players and staff have been staying home and doing their part to stymie the spread of the virus.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t contribute in other ways. The support they are showing workers who are leading the fight against COVID-19 is a major way of helping not only those heroes in the medical battle, but also the economy by supporting the local restaurants who are preparing the food.
This is one of many offerings of support the Mavericks are involved in.
Cuban, Doncic and Dwight Powell teamed up with the Mavs Foundation to donate $500,000 to fund childcare for the workers at two hospitals who are working long shifts, often at the expense of lost time with family.
“We are extremely grateful for the amazing bravery shown by our health professionals during this difficult time,” Powell said when the childcare initiative was announced. “We feel it’s our duty to do whatever we can to support their efforts.”
In addition, the Mavs Foundation donated $100,000 to area nonprofit organizations for assistance during the coronavirus outbreak.
Cuban also pledged quickly after the NBA shut down that hourly workers at American Airlines Center would be paid for games that were not played.
Those gestures have continued now with the players and staff combining to deliver the meals for the workers at Dallas’ coronavirus testing sites. Medical teams at the Ellis Davis Field House location, the Dallas City Hall emergency operations center and Parkland Hospital all are receiving nutritious meals while working.
“Our players and entire franchise have stepped up huge during this crisis,” Carlisle said. “I’ve never been more proud to be part of the Dallas Mavericks’ organization.”
Among the many restaurants involved are Mangiamo, Beyond the Box, The Rustic, Sal’s Pizza, Tribal All Day Café, Neuhaus Café, Café Brazil, Bar Louie, Campisi’s, Café Victoria and Pecan Lodge.
“Feeding the staff and coordination of meals happens every day and is always changing,” said Adam Traylor, senior emergency management specialist for the city of Dallas. “It’s a huge help to have the Mavericks not only purchasing the meals, but helping coordinate the delivery.”
Traylor added that the AAC has pitched in mightily to help serve the 80 to 100 workers who are administering COVID-19 tests at the arena’s silver parking garage.
Traylor said the Mavericks have been on the front line of support consistently. When the tornadoes tore through north Dallas last year, Nowitzki made a visit to the emergency operations center.
“He called it the war room,” Traylor said. “It means a lot when somebody like that who we grew up watching takes such an interest in what we do.”
Nowitzki has said on numerous occasions that first responders, health-care workers and the like are “the real heroes.”