Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, with CNN reporting that roughly 97 percent of the island's 3.4 million residents are still in the dark and half of its population doesn't have running water as of Wednesday afternoon.
And the crisis hits home for Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea, who's Puerto Rican, counting stranded family members including his parents and grandmother on the island. Obviously, this is bigger than basketball, and Mavs owner Mark Cuban is treating it like that, loaning the team's plane to Barea so that he could assist in recovery efforts and rescue his mom and grandmother.
ESPN reported yesterday that Cuban allowed Barea to use the team plane to transport food, water and other vital supplies to Puerto Rico and that the point guard missed the first day of the Mavs' training camp Monday to do so.
"I was really proud of J.J.," Cuban told ESPN in a text message, "and how quickly he got involved and how hard he worked to make all of this happen."
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle also told ESPN: "That's a situation that 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 and they're going to turn around and come back. He's going to take his mom and grandmother back with him and my understanding is his dad is going to stay over there and slug it out with all of the recovery efforts."
Like many with family members in Puerto Rico, Barea reportedly didn't have any contact with his parents until this past Sunday, days after the storm hit the island. Barea, 33, and his wife, Viviana Ortiz, launched an online fundraiser to further aid in relief efforts of Hurricane Maria.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the relief fund had reached over $130,000 in donations toward a goal of $150K. If you'd like to contribute, click here.
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(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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