Tonight’s NBA Draft is the first step in what promises to be a busy summer for the Mavs. Free agency starts in one week, the Las Vegas Summer League begins a week after that, and then, before you know it, it’s time for training camp.

While it’s true that the game never stops, even after the Finals, basketball isn’t the only thing that’s going to keep the Mavericks busy this summer. The organization’s top priority is to connect with MFFLs off the floor as well, and fans will have no shortage of options to choose from in the coming months as the Mavs look to own the summer.

That starts tonight at the Mavs Official NBA Draft Party, presented by Fan Duel, at Henderson Tap House. Beginning at 6 p.m., there will be giveaways ever half-hour in addition to food, drinks, and, of course, the Draft, in which the Mavs hold the No. 21 pick.

Next up on the calendar is Saturday’s Dirk Nowitzki’s Heroes Celebrity All-Star Game, presented by Baylor Medical Center at Frisco, featuring the reunion of the Mavs’ “Big 3” of the early-‘00s: Dirk, Michael Finley, and Steve Nash. In addition, Tyson Chandler, Dez Bryant, Devin Harris, Charlie Villanueva, and Charles Barkley, among others, will play in the game, which benefits both the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and the Heroes Foundation.

It’s the entire organization’s priority to entertain the fans year-round, not just during the season.

“They’re events that build on some of our core values: passion, engagement, and having a great time,” President and CEO Terdema Ussery said. “If we do our jobs right, there shouldn’t be a month in the year when our fans aren’t interacting with us, having a good time with us, and where we’re not developing new fans in new kinds of ways.”

The upcoming inaugural Mavs Spiked! sand volleyball tournament and party presented by Chocktaw Casino Resort is just one example of a non-basketball event which can bring together Dallas fans. Saturday, July 25 at the Sandbar Cantina and Grill in Deep Ellum, 32 teams will have a chance at the tournament title, and along the way all participants will receive ticket vouchers, party passes, beach towels, and more. There’s a party afterward, as well, so even those who don’t bump, set, or spike can still have a good time.

Kids can also participate throughout the year in the Dallas Mavericks Basketball Academy, meant for players of all ability levels ages 8-18. Coaches stress physical improvement, mental growth, and leadership necessary for long-term development and success on and off the floor. Those camps are highly recommended by yours truly, as well — I attended every summer for six years. There are 17 Summer Hoop Camps, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, on the schedule. In addition, there are now Skills camps and Elite camps for players who are serious about improving their game. Additionally, there’s a Dallas Mavericks Dancers camp and the organization’s first kids health and wellness camp, scheduled for early next summer.

The great part about all of these events — both in the summer and others that take place in the fall, too, including free summer movie nights, coaching clinics, the ever-popular NBA 101 for Women, and many new events to be announced soon – that you don’t have to be a basketball player, or really even a basketball fan, to have a great time.

“There’s so much more that we can be doing to share the brand and share the fun with people who may not even be basketball fans,” Ussery said. “But they enjoy having a good time, they enjoy being in a safe environment, and they enjoy lots of other fun summer activities.”

Succeeding on the floor is certainly a primary goal of the Mavs, and that will never change. But connecting with and entertaining MFFLs is the top priority for this team, and that’s true on all levels of the organization. In addition to winning a championship, proprietor Mark Cuban’s top goal every season is to extend the club’s record sellout streak, which wouldn’t be possible without undying support from the best, most passionate fans in the NBA.

That’s simply not a possible streak to continue, though, unless the Mavs make it a point to keep fans engaged all year, every year. It can be done in the Draft and it can be done in free agency, but everything begins and ends with the fans, and that’s why owning the summer off the court is just as important a goal as landing top talent for next season.

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