• Eric Martinez

Mavericks Academy partners with Voice of Hope Community Jr. NBA Clinic

The silence in the newly renovated Mavs Foundation and Voice of Hope basketball court brought a calm anticipation to invited youth, who sat on the bleachers looking happy. Each one of them had a huge smile on their face as the basketball clinic leaders handed out Jr. NBA Mavericks shirts and masks to everyone.

The pure joy and excitement poured over to everyone that was inside of the gym as each boy and girl lined up for stretches and warm ups. The Dallas Mavericks representation was felt immediately. As soon as the boys and girls lined up, the message of spiritual enrichment, education on basketball in terms of the importance of stretching and the explanation of how this clinic will help teach them the fundamentals on developing core values in basketball and life were explained. As each boy and girl stretched and got warmed up, each coach introduced him or herself while sharing an important lesson on why it’s imperative to focus on the fundamentals, and why listening to your coaches and parents was key to life. The echoes continued to bounce off the walls, as the coaches kept asking “Attitude is?” and the boys and girls would answer with plenty of energy “Everything.” The whistles blew and the kids all lined up in single file lines stretched across the court. Each coach explained why each drill was important and instilled a sense of focus that each boy and girl learned. The excitement on the court was a very rewarding feeling as you could feel the pure bliss that each boy and girl were having. Just as the last few lines were completing a basketball drill that emphasized screaming, “Ball, Ball, Ball”, the newly acquired Mavericks forward Davis Bertans entered the gym before anyone can tell he was hiding in the corner. The opportunity for many of these boys and girls to see a NBA player attend this clinic, which plays for their favorite team is essential on will motivates the youth to dream big. Davis walked around and introduced himself to each boy and girl. The amazement on the faces was unforgettable and they enjoyed a drill that allowed Davis to interact with each of the attendees personally. After the drills, the youth got to see one of their favorite Mav's player

It could not have been better timing for Dorian Finney-Smith to enter the gym at that exact moment. The boys and girls recognized him immediately. As Dorian made his way through the boys and girls lines, he introduced himself with pure kindness and acknowledged each person in the gym. As the coaches called the kids over to sit and listen to advice from Dorian and Davis, you could hear pin drops in the gym while the Maverick players were talking. It was a moment captured by the children absorbing the moment and listening to NBA players that they see on the television or when they attend basketball games. There was a moment when they both were asked about why basketball was important to them and why they decided to become NBA players, and both humbly replied that family were the driving force behind the success. When the conversation ended, the children lined up for shooting drills to practice what they had learned. Having both, Davis and Dorian, help with these drills was a great opportunity for these kids to be coached by current NBA players during a moment that they would never forget. An enormous thanks to the Mavs Academy, TaxAct, Voice of Hope, and the Jr. NBA for allowing us to cover such a rewarding clinic. By allowing boys and girls the access to these life-changing events, the community can strengthen by building an unbreakable bond. These after-school programs are the fabric of a community, and we have are thankful that the entire Mavericks organization believes in these ideals and values.

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