Community Spotlight Award: Luka Dončić honored for off-season community work
The Dallas Mavericks have selected Luka Dončić as the winner of the 2021 Off-Season Community Spotlight Award, presented by Chime, as well as named Dončić for the NBA Care Off-Season Community Assistance Award, presented by Kaiser Permanente.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award is one of the greatest off-court honors an NBA player can receive. Each team selects its most charitable player for the offseason to secure a nomination, then a league committee chooses the player who best reflects the passion the NBA and its players share for giving back to their communities.
Now entering this fourth NBA season, Dončić was selected because of his tremendous work in the community and his ability to unite a global audience through basketball.
This summer, he represented his country at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, then stayed home to renovate two basketball courts in his hometown of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
This gesture has impacted the lives of thousands of children and families and created lasting memories for her community.
The project is an extension of Dončić’s community work in the Dallas area. He was nominated by the Mavericks for the March NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his work during the 2020-21 season.
He helped Texans weather the historic winter snowstorm in February with numerous donations and provided shoes and other essentials and Maverick gifts to healthcare workers battling the coronavirus on the front lines.
July 6 was considered Luka Dončić Day in Dallas for his actions in the community.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins read a resolution recognizing Dončić’s accomplishments on and off the basketball court. He also praised the Slovenian’s ability to unite fans around the world and thanked him for using sport to influence communities and raise awareness among underserved communities.
“Dončić plays an important role in the community and we thank him for joining owner Mark Cuban and other team members to donate $ 1.25 million in February when the winter storm swept through the county. Said Justice Jenkins. “Luka also joined the Mavs by donating $ 500,000 in funds to support child care for healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19. Luka also donated Jordan shoes to frontline healthcare workers in March. ”
A day earlier, Dončić bounced back to the rhythm of cheers and screams as his Slovenian teammates hoisted him above their shoulders on Sunday afternoon. It was a storybook moment after Dončić helped his country qualify for the Olympics for the first time in Slovenia’s history.
It was just the start of a magical summer.
As he stood on the sparkling new basketball courts in the neighborhood where he grew up, Dončić put on that big smile like someone who is back where it all began.
It was there that a preteen Dončić would boldly play against – and often beat – older children. This is where his retreat was born.
It was there that he first learned Luka Magic.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, dignitaries surrounded Dončić in his hometown of Ljubljana, Slovenia. But the real stars were kids from the local community who got their first glimpse of two refurbished basketball courts, made possible with the help of Luka, the Dallas Mavericks and 2K Foundations, the philanthropic arm of 2K that supports and inspires underserved communities by investing directly in local enrichment programs.
Dončić was thrilled to be able to give back to his hometown, as he did to Dallas, his adopted hometown in the United States.
“It’s a very exciting day for me,” said Dončić. “I have good memories growing up in Ljubljana. These are my childhood courts where I learned and played the game. It is an honor to be able to give back to my city and my country which have given me so much and which I love. The opportunity for children to play on the same courts and pursue the same dreams that I had is something that fascinates me.
The courts are full of luka-isms. And also Maverick touches.
The artwork on display was designed by Dončić, who chose a graphic designer in Slovenia, Nejc Prah, to bring his design to life. Luka’s new logo incorporates Luka’s initials (LD), his jersey number (77) and arrows that represent his deceptive playstyle with a negative space revealing an “S” for his country of origin.
As part of the celebration, Luka signed the tribunal, officially dedicating it to the community.
Dončić, the two-time All-NBA first-team point guard, spent most of his time in Slovenia last summer after finishing his country’s run to the Olympics.
Who knows? Perhaps this testing ground for the local community will be a stepping stone for the next generation of Slovenian basketball players to follow in Dončić’s footsteps.
“For Luka to return to his hometown and dedicate these courts to his childhood town is such an honor,” said Zoran Janković, Mayor of Ljubljana. “He continues to represent Slovenia globally and we are proud of what he has done for our country, not only at the Olympics but also for his efforts in the NBA. He loves Ljubljana, and the city and the countryside love him.
The Ljubljana Courts are the latest of 2K Foundations’ many projects and include new seating areas and lighting for the courts.
Dončić is featured on the cover of the NBA 2K22 video game. The 2K Foundations are focused on uplifting communities across the globe by providing resources and experiences. The organization has invested in more than 40 initiatives to provide access to sports, professional and learning opportunities.
“Foundations play a very important role for 2K and our sports titles,” said David Ismailer, President of 2K. “We are incredibly proud of the contributions made to communities, from court renovations to STEM programming. We are honored to have created a program that helps give some of the world’s greatest athletes and talents, such as Luka, the chance to connect more with the communities that mean so much to them.
In early summer, Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall joined Commissioners Tribunal on Luka Dončić’s Day to applaud him for his community work and immense achievements.
“On behalf of the Dallas Mavericks, thank you so much for recognizing him and what he is doing,” Marshall said in court. “We like him here in Dallas and we like the way he represents Dallas to the world.”
Marshall also took to social media to write a heartfelt post about this Dončić stands for Dallas County and fans around the world, especially children.
“One of the reasons I like Luka is that he really loves our kids,” Marshall wrote. “I saw him stop warming up to meet a child’s request. Donating shoes, writing big checks, providing child care services to first responders, setting up a foundation, etc. is good. But giving your time to kiss a little person and their dream is heartwarming. And he hasn’t thought twice about it. That’s the spirit of our Dallas Mavericks team. They are caring human beings who give of their time, talent and treasure. Yes, today is Luka Doncic Day and he would like us to like our whole team. And I do.”
The video of Dončić and a 9-year-old boy named Brayden Whitley has gone viral and has nearly three million views.
“I was like ‘am I going to meet Luka? Will I meet Luka? ‘ Whitley recalls.
While warming up on the free throw line, Doncic stopped for a photo with Whitley. But, the incredible journey did not end there. After the game he had another special encounter.
“Luka Doncic came over, took off his shoes, took them off, signed them both and gave them to me,” Whitley said.
Before the 2020 Covid restrictions, Dončić was often found pulling fans from the stands to join him on the pitch during warm-ups, and was proud to sign autographs for young people whenever he had the chance. . He continually wanted to create memorable experiences for those who cheered him on in every game.
The Slovenian sensation has also dedicated her time to fan meets and auction sessions for the Mavs Foundation, raising funds for women, children and families in need in North Texas.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dončić has been involved in supporting healthcare workers in the Dallas community. In March, he donated 100 pairs of Air Jordan 1 shoes and Mavs swag to vaccinators at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
The goal was to provide them with new shoes to wear, but even more – to boost morale and hope after medical staff spent more than a year battling this pandemic on the frontlines.
“I wish (that) I could be there in person,” Dončić shared in a pre-recorded video. “But I just want to say I have a pair of Jordans for each of you. I’m really excited to be doing this. Thanks for everything you’ve done during this pandemic and come on Mavs!”
Story: Tamara Jolee and Eddie Sefko
What an honor to be associated with 2K Foundations and to rebuild my childhood courts. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/k7zYfD4OJD
– Luka Doncic (@ luka7doncic) September 4, 2021
THANKS to all caregivers. Enjoy everything you do! ?? https://t.co/co3aRdfpUG
– Luka Doncic (@ luka7doncic) March 23, 2021