DALLAS – Luka Doncic gazed in awe as a pyrotechnic swell of golden fireworks cascaded from the stage at the Fourth Annual Mavs Ball and encircled his teammate, Dirk Nowitzki, as 800 loyal Dallas Mavericks fans roared to a climatic punch after a bidder threw down $200,000 to eat dinner with the 21-year Dallas Mavericks legend.
“This is great,” Doncic cheered with fellow MFFLs, who gave a standing ovation to Nowitzki and the winning bidder.
Fellow teammate Kristaps Porzingis agreed.
“I think it’s awesome. Just awesome,” said Porzingis, who sat just a few feet away from Nowitzki and the auctioneer. “It’s an insane amount of money, but it’s for a good cause, and it’s dinner with a legend.”
Soon another bidding war broke out to eat dinner with Dirk — this one harvested an additional $140,000 for the Mavs Foundation. A live taping to attend ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” with Mavs owner Mark Cuban and fellow sharks poured in $45,000, plus courtside seats with Cuban garnered $20,000 more during the Mavs Ball live auction.
“The live auction is always fun, but this year it was exceptionally fun,” said Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle. “People enjoyed it, and they had a lot of great items. I feel lucky to have free dinners with Dirk.”
A jersey worn by Luka Doncic, a favorite to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year honor, nabbed the highest bid of all the silent auction items and sold for $9,051.
By night’s end the Mavs Foundation’s 2019 Mavs Ball, presented by Smith Thompson Home Security, raised a whopping $1.34 million, but it was the upbeat, energetic auction for dinner with Dirk that that exceeded the $1 million the foundation set out to raise.
“The night was absolutely amazing,” said Katie Edwards, Dallas Mavericks vice president of Community Relations and president of the Mavs Foundation. “The Mavs family has always supported the community, but I was stunned to see this level of support from our friends and partners. To be able to come together to celebrate the team and the things we do off the court, it just shows the commitment of our fans and the love they have for Dirk and excitement for the future.”
“He’s the GOAT,” veteran Maverick Dorian Finney-Smith said, who added he better be traveling around the world to every single restaurant with Dirk for that amount of money. “We laugh and joke about it, but shoot, that’s Dirk Nowitzki. That’s a legend. Plus, it’s all for the Mavs Foundation, so it’s worth it.”
Four years ago, the Mavs Foundation decided to create a night to encompass all that the organization accomplished during the year, thus the Mavs Ball was born. Since that time, it’s blossomed so large that Mavericks had to use the American Airlines Center this year to hold all the people who sought out tickets to the swank blue-tie affair.
Grammy-award winning trio, Boyz II Men, provided the entertainment to the sold-out crowd and every guest took home Swarovski Bluetooth speakers embellished with 15 sparkling crystals and headphones wrapped in tiny boxes sealed with a golden ribbon.
It was Nowitzki and the Mavs Foundation, however, that shined as the main attraction of the night, and the purpose was not lost on Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell, who has served a significant role with the foundation and in the North Texas community.
“I think the dollar number is a just a testament more to Dirk’s legacy in the community,” said Powell, when asked about the $200,000 dinner with Nowitzki. “A lot of people have put a lot of hard work with the Mavs Foundation and made sure it’s handled the right way and no one more than Dirk has created an opportunity for the Mavs Foundation to be successful.
“It’s a testament to how great Dirk’s been as a human being, not just as a player. I’m sure it’ll be a great dinner. Nick and Sam’s is one of the best restaurants in Dallas, and the food will be great, but the most important part is how much people want to give to the Mavs Foundation because they know that we do things the right way.”
The event was the brainchild of Dallas Mavericks senior event manager, Ashley Gambino, along with her staff. Every detail was planned and executed from the moment guests arrived and Gambino set the mood by encasing the blue carpet in a clear tent similar to the ones celebrities walk at the Oscars and Golden Globes. Gambino chose a stunning three-dimensional hedge wall made up of green foliage for the step and repeat background and accented it with 3D logos and cut-out letters.
Each person walked the blue carpet and posed for photos as they entered the Fourth Annual Mavs Ball and had the chance to visit with Dallas Mavericks players and coaching staff as they sipped on champagne and ate hors d’oeuvres during the reception. VIPs in attendance included Mavs owner Mark Cuban, CEO Cynt Marshall, and Maverick legends Rolando Blackman, Michael Finley, Derek Harper, Shawn Marion and Jason Terry.
Guests then walked down a darkened corridor lit with towering beams filled with photos at various Dallas Mavericks community events. Blue carpeted steps led them down to the American Airlines Center home basketball court transformed into a glitzy, elegant atmosphere kissed with touches of sparkling gold.
The three-course menu, created by Levy Executive Chef Mark Mabry, included seared beef tenderloin topped with grilled gulf shrimp and béarnaise sauce accompanied with truffle chive whipped potatoes and roasted heirloom carrots. Guests enjoyed a dessert that included moist milk chocolate cake stacked with layers of white and dark chocolate mousse and topped off with golden flakes and Chantilly cream.
“The Mavs Ball was an incredibly successful night, raising over $1.3 Million for the Mavs Foundation and it truly could not have been done without the support of so many people,” Gambino said. “Successfully executing an event of this magnitude and hearing the positive feedback we have been receiving from our guests, players, media and all those in attendance is an attribute to what a strong and supportive team we have with the Dallas Mavericks and I am grateful to work with all of them.
The night also included a surprise moment thanks to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and Smith Thompson Security founder Mark Thompson. They presented Mavs Maniaac captain, Rob “Big Rob” Maiden – one of the dance team’s original 2002 members – with his own 2011 Mavericks NBA championship ring.
The Mavs Foundation launched with the Dallas Mavericks two seasons before Nowitzki arrived and since then, he’s served as a staple in the community and helped the Mavs Foundation, a private 501c3, grant over $5 million to nonprofit organizations serving children, women, and families in need. In addition, the Mavs Foundation has built 40 safe Learn and Playspaces, including 24 basketball courts and 16 Reading & Learning Centers.
These spaces are designed to expand learning opportunities for reading and education programs, as well as provide Computer Labs and access to technology to assist teens and adults with job-skill training and other valuable tools.
Dallas Mavericks veteran Salah Mejri has attended three Mavs Ball events and said this year’s event was the best because of the live auction with Dirk.
“I was not shocked Dirk’s dinner went for $200,000,” he said, “I would pay the same if I didn’t play for the Mavs. He’s Dirk. He’s been here for over 20 years and the things he’s done for the city, for the team, for the Mavs Foundation. It’s special. He has no price. You get to attend dinner with Dirk, ask him all these questions…man, it’s worth it for sure.
Nowitzki’s longtime teammate and close friend, Devin Harris, was not so sure.
“I don’t know if Dirk has $200,000 worth of things to talk about,” Harris joked. “But hey, it’s for the Mavs Foundation, and that alone is worth every penny. It was a great night, a lot of fun. We all enjoyed it, and I think the fans did, too. The Mavs Ball is always great, but from start to finish, this year was really special.”
2018-19 Mavs Ball Grant Recipients:
Each year the Mavs Ball serves as the premier fundraiser and this year’s event celebrated the 2018-2019 Mavs Foundation Grant Recipients: CitySquare, Community Partners of Dallas, Dallas 24 Hour Club, Essilor Vision Foundation, Hope Supply Co., Hunger Busters, Jonathan’s Place, Leukemia Texas, Mission Possible Kids, POETIC , Voice of Hope and YMCA Waxahachie.
2019 Mavs Ball Presenting Sponsor:
Smith Thompson Home Security
The Dallas Mavericks would like to thank our amazing sponsors: Smith Thompson Home Security (2019 Mavs Ball presenting sponsor), 5Miles (entertainment), Morgan Stanley (reception), Legacy Exploration, LLC (live auction), and KPMG (blue carpet). VIP Table Partners: Aimbridge Hospitality, Mr. and Mrs. Doug Parker and Mr. and Mrs. Evan Wyly. Silver Table Partners: Status Sparkling Wines, Boardwalk Auto Group, DallasMavs.Shop, FOX Sports Southwest, Hexadyne Corporation, Capital Real Estate Investment, LLC. Legends Table Partners: DL Phillips Electric, Patron, Price Realty Corp, PwC, Service King, and Winston & Strawn. Table Partners: Akin Gump, Alta Construction, Baylor Scott & White, Ben E. Keith, Choctaw, Clearview Risk, Coca Cola, Complete Fire Protection & Morrison Utility Co., Denitech, Don Knobler, Flowserve, Frost Bank, Gus Bates, GPA, Jani-King, Legends Hospitality, Matthews Southwest, Mass Electric, Massey Services, Visit Dallas, Wrangler.
About the Mavs Foundation: Over the past 22 years, the Mavs Foundation has granted over $5 million dollars to nonprofit organizations serving women, children and families in need. The Mavs Foundation has built 40 safe Learn & Playspaces throughout the North Texas community, including 24 basketball courts and 16 Reading & Learning Centers. These spaces are designed to expand learning opportunities for reading and education programs, as well as provide Computer Labs and access to technology to assist teens and adults with job-skill training and other valuable tools. Learn more at MavsFoundation.com.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 2, 2019
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 2, 2019
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 2, 2019
— Tamara Jolee (@TamaraJolee) March 2, 2019