“We appreciate Luka here in Dallas, and we appreciate how he represents Dallas worldwide,” Dallas Mavs CEO Cynt Marshall said. “One of the reasons I appreciate Luka is he truly loves our children. He’s a caring human being who gives his time, talent, and treasure. This is the spirit of the Dallas Mavericks.”
Dončić should be one of the frontrunners for the award based on his extraordinary community to children locally and globally through The Luka Dončić Foundation and Mavs Foundation.
The NBA Selection Committee will base their vote on a player’s demonstrated commitment to their community throughout the season. Voting criteria include three pillars: impact to local communities, sustained community work and developing strong partnerships that make a difference.
The 23-year-old Slovenian will now advance to a 12-day public voting period along with the other nine finalists to choose the league’s most outstanding philanthropic player for the season.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award is regarded as one of the most coveted honors that an NBA player can receive because winners have chosen to dedicate their basketball careers to a calling much more significant than just the game.
Mavs’ forward/center Dwight Powell was named a recipient of the NBA Cares End of Season Community Assist Award during the 2019-20 season, marking the first time that a Mavs player took home the yearly honor. Powell shared the award with four other players due to the unique circumstances during the pandemic and social justice reform at the end of 2020.
Should he win the seasonlong award, Dončić would become the first solo winner in Dallas Mavericks franchise history.
“These children are going through so much,” Dončić said when reflecting on his passion for the community, especially these last few years. “I hope to give them a little bit of happiness, and I’m always thinking of them.”
The 2021-22 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award (CAA) winner will receive a $75,000 donation to the charity of his choice, paying homage to the league’s 75th anniversary year.
Dončić is one of 10 finalists for the award; other nominees include: Bismack Biyombo, Robert Covington, Tobias Harris, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brook Lopez, Gary Payton II, Ricky Rubio, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Trae Young.
Now competing in his fourth NBA season, Dončić was selected as a finalist for the 2021-22 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award because of his tremendous work in the community and ability to unite a global audience through the game of basketball.
Although Dončić is an international superstar, he has long said that children battling sickness and other dire circumstances deserve the attention and spotlight.
Just two months ago, Dončić met with Callum Stewart, 16, ahead of the Utah game on March 27, 2022.
Stewart was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare and aggressive brain tumor, in December 2021. The Make-A-Wish Foundation partnered with the Mavericks to create a special night for the Frisco teen, who dreamed of attending the game and meeting the Mavericks.
“Luka is really nice and easygoing,” Stewart said. “I was nervous because he’s this celebrity, but then you meet him, and he’s very nice and quiet. I kind of like that. He has his mind on other people, and it’s not about how important he is. He’s just a nice guy and amazing player.”
Fans can vote for Dončić via Jebbit, where they can view and select videos highlighting his impact, or on Twitter by using #NBACommunityAssist and @luka7doncic or #LukaDoncic. Fan voting for the award will begin today (May 3) on social media and concludes on Saturday, May 14 at 10:59 p.m. CT.
The winner will be determined by fan voting and voting by an NBA executive panel.
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Even when he took time away from basketball, he always hosted and gave back through various charitable efforts. This past summer, he inspired the globe by leading Slovenia to a top-four finish at the Olympics.
Dončić then jump-started this season by establishing The Luka Dončić Foundation, a dream that is years in the making. Dončić always knew that if he made it to the professional ranks, he’d want to give back to the game by impacting the lives of children battling illnesses and other severe circumstances.
Ever since he arrived in the NBA four years ago, Dončić has never lost sight of his mission, and he was thrilled to announce the news earlier this season.
“I’m launching the new Luka Dončić Foundation here in Dallas,” Dončić shared with fans this past October. “I also have a foundation in Slovenia. It’s my way of showing appreciation to both places and giving back to the community.”
The Luka Dončić Foundation — also known as the LD77 Foundation — was established in North Texas just one month after the young phenom teamed up with the 2K Foundation this past summer to rebuild his childhood court in Slovenia.
“This is a very exciting day for me,” Doncic said. “I have great memories growing up in Ljubljana. These are my childhood courts where I learned and practiced the game. It’s an honor to be able to give back to my city, and to my country that gave me so much and that I love. The opportunity for kids to play on the same courts and pursue the same dreams I had is something I am excited about.”
Dončić is well-aware that everyone deserves a chance. Long before the official launch of his personal foundation, he established a non-profit, “Uresničimo sanje” which means “May your dreams come true,” to support underprivileged children by co-financing sports activities for which they are passionate and talented.
This work is just an extension of Dončić’s community work in the Dallas area. Furthermore, he spent the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend virtually visiting children through Make-A-Wish America. He followed up with this gesture by granting various dreams to children at games this season. He also helped the Mavs Foundation raise a record-breaking $1.7 million at this year’s Mavs Ball.
Dončić and Spencer Dinwiddie donated $80K for a State Fair of Texas prize to join teammate Boban Marjanovic.
During the past December (2021) holidays, Dončić donated an array of surprises for 200 children at the Children’s Hospital of the University Medical Center Ljubljana. He created a recorded video for all the children to watch in their rooms to provide them a little bit of joy from their hospital beds. The children also received Jordan hoodies, shirts, new Jordan shoes, and a signed photo and note.
“It’s hard to spend a long time at the clinic, especially during the holidays,” said Hana, a 12-year-old patient. “Since the pandemic, we don’t get to have as many visitors or daily activities to pass the time. So when we’re surprised with gifts from a global star like Luka, it’s a good day! I am thankful for all he did for us.”
Dončić has developed a reputation for his kindness to children attending the games and his willing participation in team and NBA meet and greets. He’s regarded as one of the most giving athletes for children attending games. In a cluster of fans vying for autographs, he searches out the children and youth among them, constantly creating memorable experiences that are organic and unplanned.
Dončić said he desires to give back to the game and community that provides him great joy.
Dončić told Mavs.com that he’s more committed than ever to the DFW community, a place he now calls his Texas home. The young phenom has a passion for improving the lives of children and youth.
In October 2021, he surprised 80 children at an area hospital by giving them Jordan swag, new shoes, autographed photos and personalized No. 77 pepperoni pizzas.
Dončić also included a few personal touches, providing all the children with an uplifting letter to spark hope and encouragement during a difficult time in their lives. He added an autographed photo to hang up in their rooms and eventually take home.
“I really wish I could have been there to meet and talk to the kids, but hopefully, this surprise brought a smile to their faces and encouraged them to stay strong,” Dončić shared. “I just want all the kids and parents to know I’m thinking of them.”
It’s been a monumental year for the NBA superstar, both on and off the court.
After dramatically leading Slovenia to the Olympic semifinals, Dončić returned home to refurbish two basketball courts that he played on growing up in Ljubljana.
It’s a place where he first learned Luka Magic. Dončić said he was honored to give back to his hometown, much as he has done in Dallas, his adopted hometown in the U.S.
The beautiful new courts – featuring artwork designed by Dončić – include seating and lights; the work was an extension of a partnership with the 2K Foundation after Dončić appeared on the cover of the NBA 2K22 video game.
“This is a very exciting day for me,” Dončić said. “I have great memories growing up in Ljubljana. These are my childhood courts where I learned and practiced the game. It’s an honor to be able to give back to my city, and to my country that gave me so much and that I love. The opportunity for kids to play on the same courts and pursue the same dreams I had is something I am excited about.”
The courts are full of Luka-isms. And also Maverick touches.
The artwork featured on the court was designed by Dončić, who chose a graphic designer in Slovenia, Nejc Prah, to bring his design to life. Luka’s new logo integrates Luka’s initials (LD), his jersey number (77) and arrows that represent his deceptive style of play with negative space revealing an ‘S’ for his home country.
As part of the celebration, Luka signed the court, officially dedicating it to the community.
Local children were then invited to participate in basketball scrimmages, 3-on-3 games, dribble clinics and skills challenges.
“Having Luka return to his hometown and dedicate these courts to his childhood town is such an honor,” said Zoran Janković, Ljubljana’s mayor. “He continues to represent Slovenia globally, and we’re proud of what he has done for our country, not only at the Olympics but his efforts in the NBA. He loves Ljubljana, and the city and country love him.”
During the off-season, July 6 was deemed Luka Dončić Day in Dallas for his actions in the community.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins read a resolution that recognized Dončić’s accomplishments on and off the basketball court. He also praised the Slovenian’s ability to unite fans worldwide and thanked him for using sport to influence communities and provide outreach for underserved communities.
“Dončić carries an important role in the community. We thank him for joining owner Mark Cuban and other team members in donating $1.25 million in February (2021) when the winter storm wiped out the county,” Judge Jenkins read. “Luka also joined the Mavs in donating $500,000 in funds to support childcare for healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19. Luka also donated Jordan shoes to frontline healthcare workers back in March.”
Marshall, the CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, joined the commissioner’s court on Luka Dončić Day to applaud him for his community work and tremendous accomplishments.
“One of the reasons I appreciate Luka is he truly loves our children,” Marshall wrote. “I saw him stop warming up to respond to a child’s request. Giving away shoes, writing big checks, providing childcare for first responders, starting a foundation, etc., are great. But to give of your time to embrace a little person and their dream is heartwarming to me. And he didn’t think twice about it. THIS is the spirit of our Dallas Mavericks team. They are caring human beings who give their time, talent, and treasure.”
The NBA selects the players for going above and beyond in the community, a standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson.
Fans can now vote for their preferred seasonlong award nominee via Jebbit, a mobile platform specializing in data collection, where they can view and select videos highlighting each player’s impact. They are also able to vote on Twitter by using #NBACommunityAssist and a player’s handle (@Luka7Doncic) or #LukaDoncic. Votes cast via Jebbit then reposted on Twitter will count as two separate votes and retweets will also be counted.
Dončić is already making a tremendous impact on the NBA, and he’s inspired a new generation of young athletes to follow in his footsteps. This is just the beginning of what promises to be many years of Dončić granting dreams and igniting hope to children worldwide.
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CALLING ALL MFFLs: If you have a unique fan story to share about Luka Doncic or any of the Dallas Mavericks players, you can email me at Tamara.Jolee@DallasMavs.com. Please include a brief overview. Thanks and Go Mavs!
NBA Season Winners
Dwight Powell, 2019-20 (*Powell was one of five winners)
NBA Seasonlong Finalists
J.J. Barea, 2017-18
Dwight Powell, 2018-19
Luka Doncic, 2021-22
Monthly Award Winners
Michael Finley, November, 02-03
Dirk Nowitzki, February, 03-04
2004-05*, August, All NBA players for Katrina efforts
Greg Buckner, February, 06-07
Dirk Nowitzki, December, 07-08
Jason Terry, November, 08-09
Jason Kidd, December, 09-10
Monthly Award Winners (After 2011-12)
JJ Barea, October, 17-18
Dwight Powell, October, 18-19
Josh Richardson, January 2021
*At the start of the 2011-12 season, the NBA started honoring yearly winners. Prior to this, awards were based on months.