Bigger than basketball
Monday, while the rest of his team was starting training camp, Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea was on a private jet heading to an island.
But he wasn't going on vacation; he was delivering much-needed aid to his hurricane-ravaged homeland, Puerto Rico, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Barea was born and raised and Puerto Rico, and used basketball as the way to a better life for himself and his family. He played his way to an American education, and even to an NBA championship in 2011 as one of only 12 Puerto Ricans to ever play in the NBA.
Through it all, however, he didn't forget where he came from. In Puerto Rico's time of greatest need, Barea answered the call.
"Nothing in the world was going to stop me from being here. This is my home, everything to me. Puerto Rico has given me everything in life," Barea said.
A true team effort
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban allowed Barea to use the team's private plane to deliver water, food, generators and other desperately-needed supplies to an island that has been decimated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Leading up the the trip, Barea spearheaded a fundraising effort that gathered nearly $150,000.
In addition to delivering the aid, Barea is bringing back his mother and grandmother so they can be safe with him, while his father is staying to help rebuild.
What Puerto Rico faces
From The Verge:
- At least 16 people died in Hurricane Maria
- The island is almost completely without power and communications, and could be for months to come
- Roads have been washed away or blocked by debris
- Few hospitals have power or running water
- Airports are running on limited capacity, stranding hundreds of people and making delivery of aid materials difficult
- Food is scarce and roughly 44 percent of Puerto Ricans are without drinking water
- 80 percent of Puerto Rico's crops were destroyed
What we can do
Here is a list of ways you can contribute to Puerto Rico's recovery efforts. It's been a difficult run of disasters lately, and it may seem overwhelming to think about what to do or how to help. But, every little bit counts, and the American citizens of Puerto Rico will need help long after their story passes from the news headlines.