Just 24 hours earlier, the Mavs clinched the franchise’s fourth divisional title and remained in the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings.
After Friday’s victory, the players then hopped on a plane and traveled to Cleveland to prepare for Sunday’s road tilt against the Cavs.
But first, the Mavs had to take care of a little business off the court Saturday night to champion a cause that will impact and empower thousands of lives across North Texas in the coming year.
The sixth annual Mavs Ball: House Party Edition – presented by AT&T – had to go virtual this year, but the extravagant affair was still full of all the glitz, glamour, and excitement from the five previous events.
For the players to squeeze in an event like the Mavs Ball on their off day spoke volumes about the significance of the good cause and its overall importance in the North Texas community.
“This is an opportunity for us to do a night of fun together,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle told the virtual audience. “This is an opportunity for the public to do some bidding with some major auction items, and to give back to the community.
“This year the Mavs Foundation donated over $8 million to women, children and family organizations in need, along with an awful lot of COVID-19 relief. So we are thrilled to be here.”
The current state of the world made it tough to plan for a gala as big as the Mavs Ball, but still, organizers knew they had to try.
Donated funds play a critical role in the community and they are needed now, more than ever. (To read the full list of the 2020-2021 Mavs Foundation grant recipients, click here).
“As you know, we’re here in Cleveland, but we really and truly appreciate everything all of you are doing for us with the Mavs Foundation,” said Mark Cuban, who serves on the Mavs Foundation board with his wife, Tiffany.
“It’s been a crazy year, but here we are. This event will help us raise money for women, for children, for underprivileged communities. There’s just so many ways that we’re trying to help, and we’ll continue to do things to just lift up the spirits of Dallas as much as we can.”
Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell is the only player on the current roster to attend all six Mavs Balls. Last year he bounced along the blue carpet on crunches after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
Despite the major setback, he continued to serve in countless roles with the Mavs Foundation in the community and Powell’s play on the court also continues to soar this season.
He said one major bright spot on this year’s team is the strong character of the men who make up the roster.
Last night, the players were eager to step out of their hotel rooms to help raise funds for the Mavs Ball. The first order of business called for them to put on headsets and virtually visit with MFFLs and major sponsors all over the country.
Powell was joined on his call with teammate Maxi Kleber and they visited with several children who were thrilled to show the Mavs big men their cats and dogs.
Questions from the children ranged from pregame superstitions to their first memories of playing basketball as a child.
Another child wanted to talk about action figures and asked who would win on the basketball court between Godzilla and King Kong?
“I would have to go with Kong,” Powell delicately explained, “because thumbs are very important in basketball. And I don’t think Godzilla has any. He has short arms, it’s not going to work. The tail might come in handy, but I think Kong is taking that.”
After lots of laughter, Powell delivered a heartfelt message for the children to remember.
“I think it’s important for you to remember how fortunate we are,” Powell shared with the youth. “And to remember the fact that there are a bunch of kids who are less fortunate.
“It’s important for events like this that reach out to the community to help kids and their families have a better life and more opportunities. Any chance you have to support those causes is vitally important.”
Sitting next to Kleber and Powell was the newest member of the Dallas Mavericks – JJ Redick. He was paired up with sharpshooter Tim Hardaway, Jr., and they joined a house party sponsored by Axxess, the leading technology innovator for healthcare at home.
That party had plenty of laughs, too, including one eager fan ready to challenge the duo to a shooting contest.
Redick didn’t miss a beat and explained how in golf, underdogs are given extra strokes to level the playing field. He joked that something similar needs to happen for this man to even stand a chance against him and Hardaway.
“Really bad golfers get strokes,” Redick said. “So basically I’d be willing to do a shootout with you, but I’d have to give you strokes.”
The room erupted in laughter.
“That was a good one, that was a good one,” Hardaway Jr. added.
“That was the price of admission right there,” another partygoer shouted back to Redick.
Once the players finished their player chats, the main event got underway.
Of course, no house party would be complete without music.
DJ She Real, a well-known area DJ, got the party started and provided vibes throughout the night. Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall made a special appearance, along with NBA champion Shawn Marion and Mavs legend Rolando Blackman. Dallas Mavericks broadcasters Mark Followill, Dana Larson and Jeff “Skin” Wade served as Mavs Ball hosts.
The sixth annual Mavs Ball concluded with Dallas’ very own jazz headliner, Ghost-Night, popping up on stage in the heart of Deep Ellum. Led by multi-Grammy winning percussion duo Robert “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth, the musical group provided an unforgettable experience for the virtual house parties.
The auction was also a key part of the evening. The top auction item was a dinner for 10 with Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki and Mavs sensation Luka Dončić. The winning bidder donated $77,600 to take home the prize. A pair of game worn shoes autographed by Dončić netted nearly $27K. Other big ticket items included a meet and greet with Nowitzki at his annual tennis tournament; that item pulled in almost $15K for the Mavs Foundation.
By night’s end, the Mavs Ball raised $821,650 for the Mavs Foundation, which will directly impact children, women and families across North Texas.
“We are thrilled that the Mavs family was still able to come together to celebrate our community impact and raise funds during this time,” said Mavs Foundation President Katie Edwards. “We so appreciate our sponsors and donors who make this work possible, as well as Mark, Coach, Cynt and the team for taking the time to join us. We hope everyone had as much fun as we did!”
And when it was over and players retired to their hotel rooms, the message Powell delivered to the children reverberated and was shown toward the end of the Mavs Ball.
It was a meaningful reminder for young and old alike.
“Events like this are super great and I appreciate all of you and your families for participating,” Powell said. “Because events like this empower people who might not get the same opportunities we have. So thank you guys very much.”
ABOUT THE MAVS FOUNDATION: Over the past 25 years, the Mavs Foundation has provided grant funding totaling more than $6 million dollars to nonprofit organizations serving women, children and families in need. In addition to grants, the Mavs Foundation has built 44 safe Learn & Play spaces throughout the North Texas community, including 26 basketball courts and 18 Reading & Learning Centers. These spaces are designed to encourage healthy living and provide a safe place for children and residents, as well as expand learning opportunities and access to technology to support youth education programs, teen and adults job-skill training and other critical programs. Learn more at MavsFoundation.com.