Tuesday was a momentous occasion for the Dallas Mavericks family for one main reason – the majority of children at the Mavs Bike Build community event received the very first bicycle of their life and it all came for free.
NBA FIT Week runs from Sunday, March 21 to Saturday, March 27 and encourages the physical and mental well-being for fans of all ages.
Last night, in honor of MAVS FIT and the 2021 NBA Fit Week, the Dallas Mavericks, Richardson Bike Mart and Pro Players Foundation hosted a bike build and donation for youth at Educational First Steps.
Forty bikes and helmets were donated to youth between the ages of 3-5 years to encourage play and fitness as we propel into the springtime season.
“You are making a difference in the lives of so many kids,” Allen exclaimed. “Today you are putting the smile on kids like I have never seen before. The bike represents way more than just an activity. It represents a commitment…a commitment to them as humans and kids.”
The mission of servanthood has always been etched in the history of Richardson Bike Mart and Smith said the love for the sport of cycling propels his employees to always go the extra mile. Tuesday was just one more opportunity to help lend a hand – and a few wheels – to children in great need. They decided to donate 40 bikes in honor of the Mavericks 40th anniversary.
“The Mavs said ‘we need some bikes’ and we said, ‘we’re in,’” Smith shared. “The synergy just went crazy. It’s been amazing today. A bike made a difference in my life when I first got my bike at five years old, and I saw that same excitement today on these kids’ faces.”
Dallas Mavericks players Maxi Kleber and Wes Iwundu echoed that same sentiment. Even though the duo is in Minnesota preparing for the Mavs tilt against the Timberwolves tonight, the players logged in from their hotel rooms and virtually celebrated the new bikes with the children.
Kleber and Iwundu cheered and shouted encouragement from afar and even took time to answer some of the youth’s questions.
“What’s your best basketball trick?” one of the children asked.
Kleber didn’t miss a beat and quickly joked: “Luka does the tricks, not me.” He also made sure to laugh and troll his former teammate and beloved former Dallas Mavericks legend, J.J. Barea.
When a preschooler popped up on the screen with his new green bike, Kleber quipped: “That bike looks like it was made for J.J.!”
Iwundu couldn’t contain his laughter and the pair hyped up the little guy as he placed his little boots on the pedals and took off zooming through the parking lot.
Iwundu knew the importance of the occasion for the youth because some of his best memories came as a child cruising through the Houston streets on two wheels.
“I got my first knee scar when I got my first bike,” said Iwundu who grew up in the Spring section of Houston. “It was just a great time because I felt like I took another step in getting older with my first own bike. Once the training wheels were taken off, I was free to go from there.”
Kleber reflected on his own bike memories.
“I honestly don’t remember my first bike, but I do have pictures,” Kleber explained. “However I do remember when I first started doing bike tours with my brothers.”
The duo also shared that riding bikes is a big part of their conditioning during and after the NBA grind of the season.
Allen, with Educational First Steps, said these children in particular were selected for a very important reason.
“We traditionally partner with kids in underserved communities,” Allen explained, “and we try to really give them the highest quality early childhood experience and really position them for long-term success. What we want is to make sure that by the time they get to kindergarten they are ready, confident and full of life.”
She said there was a ton of smiling going on Tuesday and she anticipates that the bicycles will bring plenty of joy to the children after they’ve been cooped up inside this past year during the pandemic.
The bike represents freedom – freedom to laugh, freedom to get exercise and freedom to create new memories.
Allen ended with this profound thought: “The bike really is a reflection to the children that they are surrounded by people that really love and care about them and want the best for them.”
ABOUT NBA FIT:
NBA FIT is the league’s comprehensive health and wellness platform that encourages the NBA family to ”Be Active, Eat Healthy and Play Together” while promoting the values of the game through programs, events and products. In partnership with community experts, the NBA Coaches Association, the NBA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, and the NBA Physicians Association, NBA FIT provides diverse health and fitness information to children and their families through social media and interactive online content. Learn more at: http://fit.nba.com/