There were plenty of sports stars making news this week, and some of them weren’t just kneeling for the national anthem. In fact, there was plenty of real heroism to be found — if, that is, you knew where to look for it.
One place you would have found it would have been with NBA star J.J. Barea. The Dallas Mavericks point guard decided that the people of his native Puerto Rico needed him more than his team did. So, he decided to leave his training camp and go down to hurricane-ravaged island to help in relief efforts.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the NBA star had begun fundraising efforts last week, managing to collect $150,000 for Puerto Ricans who were affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. That’s when the team stepped in to help. Owner Mark Cuban gave Barea use of the team jet to transport supplies down to the beleaguered U.S. territory.
“The Mavericks’ plane was loaded with water, generators, food and lots of other necessities that were to be distributed throughout Puerto Rico,” the Dallas Morning News reported.
The crisis is personal for Barea. He has family on the island and hadn’t been able to get in touch with his mother and father until this Sunday.
“They’re OK,” Barea said. “But it’s pretty rough there.”
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said he was OK with Barea missing the beginning of training camp to help Puerto Ricans in need.
“He’ll be back tonight and be here for practice (Wednesday),” Carlisle told reporters. “That’s my understanding. That’s a situation he’s got to take care of. Mark gave him our team plane. They loaded up a bunch of stuff, supplies, etc., to take over to Puerto Rico.
“They’re going to turn around and he’s bringing his mom and his grandma back with him,” he added. “And my understanding is his dad’s going to stay over there and slug it out with all the recovery efforts.”
This is how you honor America, folks: you help others. You contribute to a cause. You make a difference. Conspicuously kneeling while the anthem plays changes nothing except the anger level of football fans. J.J. Barea, meanwhile, is changing lives devastated by two horrifying storms. We couldn’t be prouder of him.
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