Sports are on hold, entire cities are on lockdown, our eyes are glued to the news, and our hearts are breaking for those affected by and suffering from COVID-19. Needless to say, these are unprecedented and scary times.
In »Mrs. Robinson,« Simon and Garfunkel ask Joe DiMaggio where he’s gone. »Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.« Now, it’s safe to say Joltin’ Joe might not have had all the answers, but there’s a reason they asked him. Athletes represent everything we admire in people. They’re wealthy, successful, and in many cases quite literally larger than life. More importantly, though, they’re motivated to improve, driven to succeed, and they never back down from a challenge. Those are qualities we ourselves hope to share, and that’s why so many of us look up to sports superstars, especially in times of trouble.
But what happens when you take sports away? What happens when real-world events are so serious, so dangerous, that we can no longer play?
A player’s job on the basketball court may be put on pause, but they’re still always a leader in the community. Times like these require everyone to do what they can to help, and Dirk Nowitzki has stepped up in a big way for the North Texas community. The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation has assisted numerous efforts in recent weeks, donating $100,000 to the North Texas Food Bank, which will help provide more than 14,000 food boxes to those who need a meal. In addition, the foundation gave $25,000 to CitySquare to aid in their drive-through pantry efforts, as well as $10,000 to Hope Supply Co. to purchase newborn and size 2 diapers to assist the homeless and disadvantaged members of our community. Dirk also joined in with his former Mavericks teammates to purchase lunch and dinner from local restaurants to feed those working on the front line at the City of Dallas Emergency Operations Center and the local testing sites.
Community impact has been a priority for Dirk and the Mavs for more than 20 years, stretching throughout Dirk’s entire career with the team. A major part of his legacy within the organization is providing more than simply points or rebounds. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been at the forefront of the NBA’s response to COVID-19, establishing a program to help pay for childcare services for healthcare workers who are working to help end this pandemic, and offering to pick up the tab for employees who purchase food or coffee from local businesses. Dirk and The Dirk Foundation are proud to follow his lead, to do their part to assist those in need.
Athletes are leaders in good times and in bad, and Dirk’s and the foundation’s contributions have certainly made a huge difference. Teams, athletes, musicians, artists, and other celebrities all understand both the impact their generosity can provide, and more crucially the responsibility that comes along with being a star. That’s been a bright spot in an otherwise dark time.
When things are looking down, we all collectively look up to them. We turn to Joltin’ Joe, to Dirk Nowitzki, and to all our favorite players. Whether it’s with significant financial contributions, material gifts, or just by making us smile while we’re feeling alone, what’s most important is that they’re using their platform for good — and that’s something that we can all celebrate together.