“This night is huge,” said Dallas Mavs forward/center Dwight Powell, the longest-tenured player on the team who has attended all eight Mavs Ball nights. “The Mavs Foundation and all the things we can do as Mavs players in the community is really the best part of the job.”
The star-studded event was presented by ShiftKey, a Texas-based technology company that inked a multi-year partnership with the Mavs at the start of the season.
The event was at the Omni Dallas Hotel under velvety blue lights with a disco theme night that made everyone shine. A giant pink sign welcomed attendees, announcing, “Follow the call of the disco ball!”
The Mavs Ball featured the entire team, coaches, legends, team executives and some of the franchise’s most loyal fans. Nearly 900 people attended this year’s event which set a Mavs Ball attendance record. Entertainment was provided by the iconic music group Kool & The Gang.
The annual Mavs Ball is the premier fundraising event for the Mavs Foundation, bringing together fans, partners, and VIPs to celebrate the 2022-23 grantees and charitable work of the Dallas Mavs during the season.
Friday night was a moment to celebrate the past and gain momentum for the future. Work in the community is far from over.
“All the people who came here tonight are here for one purpose, and that’s to have an impact,” said Mavs CEO Cynt Marshall, an NAACP Image Award nominee. “We are here to make a difference in the community and raise money. So this is exciting!”
Dallas Mavs governor Mark Cuban and Marshall welcomed Mavs Ball attendees and provided the opening remarks. They set out to raise record-breaking funds for the Mavs Foundation, and the mission was accomplished.
“It’s been a great year on and off the court,” Cuban told the crowd. “We appreciate each and every one of you and Mavs fans everywhere. We appreciate you cheering us on at the games and making noise to carry us over for big games like last night. But just as importantly, we appreciate everything you have done for the Mavs Foundation. We already raised a million dollars tonight, and that’s just the start. We’re here to break records.”
Mavs supporters and sponsors certainly made that happen, passing the previous high of $1.7 million raised last year.
A State Fair of Texas visit with Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell netted $50,000 for the organization.
New Maverick Kyrie Irving pitched in $25,000 for the prize. Irving’s bidding process was fun and lively.
“We’re going to eat and check out all the rides, all the sights and the classic features,” Powell said. “But we’re going to eat everything they have to offer.”
Another top auction bid was a trip to Spain to see Luka Doncic’s former club, Real Madrid, face the Mavs on Oct. 10, 2023, at the WiZink Center. Doncic explained on stage Friday night how it was a dream come true to face his former club.
A game-worn jersey signed by Doncic also brought in an additional $35,500.
“The Mavs Ball is great because it’s not about x’s and o’s. It’s about the community,” second-year head coach Jason Kidd said. “The Mavericks do a wonderful job in giving back. So, this is just another event to show they are first class.”
Kidd has been an excellent supporter of the Mavs Foundation since he was named head coach. Last year his J-Kidd For The Win program garnered $75,000 for the Mavs Foundation, and the nonprofit then makes grants to youth education programs with the funds.
This year the program has already amassed $21,000 and counting.
“It’s huge to give back to the community,” Kidd said, “and we get to donate money when we can win games at home. The big thing is it’s about being able to help others and giving them the tools to succeed.”
JJ Barea said players leave the Mavs franchise as well-rounded individuals because the organization creates champions on and off the court.
“It’s so great to be here,” Barea said. “The Mavs Foundation has done so much for this community, and I’m so grateful for everything the Mavs Foundation did in my community in Puerto Rico, too. This event is really important for us and the community here in Dallas.”
JaVale McGee said getting ready for the Mavs Ball tonight reminded him of his first one back in 2015-16. He said the event has come a long way.
“It feels like a full circle moment [for me] in many ways,” McGee said. “This is my second one, and it’s a lot different now. It’s great to be back. It’s important for me to give back to the game and the community, and I’m glad to be here. It’s a great cause, and it’s good to see my teammates in nice suits and a little spiffy.”
Legends from the past and present were in attendance, including NBA champions JJ Barea and Shawn Marion. Meanwhile, former players Darrell Armstrong, Rolando Blackman, Michael Finley, Courtney Lee, Deron Williams, and Charlie Villanueva also attended.
New Dallas Mavericks players Justin Holiday and Markieff Morris also attended the event and they seemed excited to meet some of the Mavs’ most loyal fans.
Irving was escorted by his daughter Azurie on the blue carpet. She stole the show all night long.
The star-studded affair included a cocktail reception, seated dinner, live and silent auctions and entertainment. AT&T served as the entertainment sponsor, and Osadía Tequila sponsored the online auction.
A cascade of blue hues and disco balls really did make everything glitter as attendees dined on steak and shrimp for dinner and sipped their favorite beverages. All the attendees received gift bags with Polaroid cameras and film inside. The players told the media on the blue carpet that stepping away from the court and focusing on community work was essential.
“It’s always great to come to this event and celebrate all the hard work that’s been accomplished,” said Reggie Bullock, the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Award champion. “Each night, we have to perform on the court at a high level, so stepping away and interacting with fans is always great.”
Powell was thrilled to walk the blue carpet with his teammates Maxi Kleber and Josh Green. The trio are some of the most giving athletes in all of sports. Their work in Dallas has been simply extraordinary and they are always willing to give back to the game.
As usual, players and coaches made jokes about who would be the best and worst dressed. The leading vote-getters for best dressed included Reggie Bullock, Frank Ntilikina, and Powell, but everyone shined this year.
“Best dressed, I’m going to go with Dwight Powell; that’s a safe choice,” said Kidd. “Or maybe even the rookie Jaden Hardy. I think Dwight Powell is going to win. From the looks of it though, everyone showed up tonight looking great.”
Davis Bertens and McGee said they look the best.
“It’s looking like I’m winning right now,” McGee said while playfully analyzing his teammates standing nearby.
Ntilikina, who appeared in the 2017 issue of Vogue with international superstar model Gigi Hadid, seemed the most at ease walking the carpet. He joked that he didn’t give any pointers for his teammates on how to dazzle on the carpet and model, but he was “willing to help anyone.”
Green and Ntilikina took pictures with all the fans lined up to greet them. Christian Wood did the same, barely stopping to even eat. Wood popped out his phone to record various moments of the night like a proud father might at a soccer game. He enjoyed every moment.
The players, supporters and fans made many memories to savor for life.
Hardy said that community outreach is one of his greatest passions. The day after the Dallas Mavericks secured the rights to Hardy, he was putting the wheels in motion to host a basketball camp in North Texas. Last August, he held a free camp for over 100 boys and girls at the Shelton School in North Dallas.
He smiled the entire Mavs Ball Friday night, visiting with sponsors at his table and seemingly taking in the night’s enviroment. He explained on the blue carpet how basketball and mentorship are his passions.
“The reason I wanted to do my camp is I wanted to give back to the community and give back to these kids,” Hardy said. “Growing up, I used to go to basketball camps, and I feel I must do the same thing.”
Dallas Mavs director of events Ashley Gambino and her staff created an elegant Mavs Ball affair similar to high-profile events like the Oscars and Grammys. The Mavs community relations team and other members of the staff all worked together in recent weeks to make the event come together.
Attendees dined on various hors d’oeuvres and sipped on their favorite beverage during the reception period before chowing down on steak at dinner. Organizers said they are always looking for new ideas and ways to create a night that honors the community and gives fans a special night no one will forget.
Fun was the name of the game.
“This is great,” said Morris, acknowledging that he wasn’t sure what to expect. “There are a bunch of nice-looking people here. It’s good to see everyone dressed up. It will be a great night.”
Morris and assistant coach Darrell Armstrong said they picked up their suits at the last minute, “but they pulled it together,” Morris laughed.
Morris said, “Luka might be the best dressed only because he knew about [the Mavs Ball] for a long time.”
Team executives shared how the night is crucial because it raises funds and creates camaraderie between teammates. The players seemed just as excited as the fans to come together and say thank you to North Texas.
“We just love coming together to celebrate the Mavs Foundation and work in the community,” Powell said. “We want to continue the legacy laid by the players and staff who came before us. It’s huge. And to be able to interact with these sponsors is also great because some of their missions and their goals are perfectly aligned with ours. So it’s great to touch base with them and continue this mission forward.”
The Dallas Mavs are one of the most charitable teams in all of sports. The team ranks at the top of the NBA each year in player appearances.
The Mavs Foundation also, once again, agreed to donate over $1 million to the local community during the 2022-23 season. Last August, the Mavs Foundation granted $150,000 in emergency funds to nonprofits supporting those impacted by the dangerous heat and increased living costs.
“What an amazing night!” said Mavs Foundation President Katie Edwards. “To bring in a record breaking $1.85 million is such a gift from our sponsors and donors and all of the people who made the event possible. Thank you to the staff who have been planning for months, Mark and Cynt for their leadership and support, and Coach Kidd and the players, past and present, who are what make Mavs Ball so special.”
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