The Dallas Mavericks owner is being recognized for his transformative leadership. As the threat of COVID-19 spread across North Texas, Cuban stood up as a prominent hero for those on the front line—directing his NBA team and its foundation to do hands-on work throughout the community. As Black Lives Matters protests formed in Dallas—and across the globe—he hosted courageous conversations about systemic racism.
Storyline: Coronavirus
With the NBA season set to resume at the end of July, the Mavericks have a plan. Rather than let their return to play be a distraction from the movement encompassing the nation, they’re working on a unified message. Rather than stay silent on the injustice in the country, they’re using their platform when play resumes at the Walt Disney World Resort to amplify their voices. “I think, first and foremost, as a team, we just have to make sure we’re on the same page to see what we’re going to do when we get to Orlando,” Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said in a Zoom call with reporters Monday. “I’m happy that the season is starting and I’m happy that it’s happening at this time so we can use our platform to express ourselves.”
“That’s what being an athlete and being on one of the biggest stages is all about: expressing yourself,” Hardaway said. “I’m happy that we’re going to be able to so that as a team. I’m pretty sure we’ll talk about that as the days go on, but for now, I’m happy that we’re going to start the season around this time. We want to make sure we use that platform to get our voices heard.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Rick Carlisle: “On the heels of George Floyd’s death on May 25, the head coaches got together on a Zoom call which was put together very quickly. We talked about the things that are going on in the world. Lloyd Pierce, who is the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, made a very passionate speech to the entire group about his feelings about everything. He was immediately appointed the chair of the NBA coaches committee on racial injustice and reform. That committee met on Zoom calls probably five times and filtered through a lot of different things to the point where now on a national level we’re under the Obama Foundation …”
Rick Carlisle: “In Dallas, I’m partnering with Mothers Against Police Brutality. We’ve met many times on Zoom. We had an in-person meeting with the mayor. We had a virtual meeting with T.C. Broadnax, the city manager. We had another meeting with [Dallas police chief] Renee Hall. So we’ve gotten into good conversations there. Our initiative, the final title of it, is NBA Coaches for Racial Justice. We will have a pin that we wear. A big part of what we’re doing, because we’re coaches, we’re teachers and we’re educators.”
Terry, who retired from the NBA in 2018, recently said in a radio interview with CBS Sports’ Zach Gelb that he received a mysteriously urgent, late-night text message from Cuban, the Mavericks’ billionaire owner, in the days after that 2006 NBA Finals loss. “I got a random text in the middle of the night,” Terry says in the interview. “My wife’s looking at my phone, like, ‘Excuse me, it’s 2 a.m., who’s texting?’ And it said, ‘Meet at the jet.’ And I said, ‘It’s Mark [Cuban].’ Terry’s wife told him he’d better hurry up and meet with Cuban, because the situation “must be urgent” for him to reach out in the middle of the night. When Terry met Cuban at the billionaire’s private jet, he saw that future Hall-of-Famer Nowitzki was already on the plane with some of his friends.
Terry, who retired from the NBA in 2018, recently said in a radio interview with CBS Sports’ Zach Gelb that he received a mysteriously urgent, late-night text message from Cuban, the Mavericks’ billionaire owner, in the days after that 2006 NBA Finals loss. “I got a random text in the middle of the night,” Terry says in the interview. “My wife’s looking at my phone, like, ‘Excuse me, it’s 2 a.m., who’s texting?’ And it said, ‘Meet at the jet.’ And I said, ‘It’s Mark [Cuban].’ Terry’s wife told him he’d better hurry up and meet with Cuban, because the situation “must be urgent” for him to reach out in the middle of the night. When Terry met Cuban at the billionaire’s private jet, he saw that future Hall-of-Famer Nowitzki was already on the plane with some of his friends.
Luka Doncic spoke to the press for the first time in months before the NBA return later this July and he appeared hopeful for the season-finale tournament in Florida. And while several players chose to sit out the season finale, for Doncic that was not the case. “I never hesitated. I missed basketball a lot, so I just wanted to play. There was no question about me. I always wanted to play”, he told the media on Thursday.
Luka Doncic spoke to the press for the first time in months before the NBA return later this July and he appeared hopeful for the season-finale tournament in Florida. And while several players chose to sit out the season finale, for Doncic that was not the case. “I never hesitated. I missed basketball a lot, so I just wanted to play. There was no question about me. I always wanted to play”, he told the media on Thursday.
He added, “If our guys want to kneel, I think that’s a great step forward. Look. I’ll add this. You know, all this discussion of kneeling and the flag has got to be again about the Pledge of Allegiance, and the best part about the Pledge of Allegiance is when you pledge allegiance to the flag, it’s for liberty and justice for all. I think players and anybody who addresses the flag and kneels, really is just standing up for that pledge they made for liberty and justice for all because that’s truly what we need in this country, and as NBA players or any athletes anywhere who push further in that direction, that’s a beautiful thing.”
Little did Doncic know on February 28, when he met U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda C. Blanchard before the Mavs-Heat game on Slovenian Night at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, that he soon would need Blanchard’s help. And Doncic almost certainly didn’t fathom that the help he would need stemmed from a developing worldwide pandemic that would force the NBA season into hiatus on the night of March 11, just 12 days after that Dallas-Miami game. The hiatus would last more than 100 days, during which Doncic returned to his hometown of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Ljubljana-based Blanchard and her embassy staff were able to connect Doncic’s personal advisors at BDA Sports Management in contact with the Slovenian embassy in Washington, D.C. to ensure that he was aware of requirements for entry into Slovenia. Those contacts later made sure Doncic and his family knew where to find the latest information on regulations for re-entering the U.S. “She [Blanchard] helped me from the United States during corona to Slovenia, with all the papers you’ve got to do,” Doncic said Thursday. “And to come back [to Dallas], too. It was very helpful.”