Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber from the Dallas Mavericks stepped off of the court last week to hand out turkeys for the upcoming holiday and partnered with Kroger to provide side dishes to underprivileged families. The families were happily greeted by Finney-Smith and Kleber with the necessary ingredients to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner possible.
Finney-Smith and Kleber spoke with Back Sports Page about how giving back to the Dallas community made them feel, and what they see in the future for the Dallas Mavericks.
“They say giving is better than taking,” said Kleber. “That’s what the holiday spirit, or life in general should be about, just giving back and trying to help the guy next door.”
“Means a lot, just to get to interact with (fans) and tell them to have a blessed day. You never know what somebody is going through,” agreed Finney-Smith.
“Especially right now when you come into the holiday spirit, you want to give back,” said Kleber. “I think that’s what it is all about in life. We are very blessed with what we can do. We get the chance to play basketball everyday.. It’s a big thing for us to have the chance to give back.”
Finney-Smith shared with Back Sports Page what Thanksgiving was like growing up in a single parent household with five other siblings. Finney-Smith said:
“My momma saved up money, just to be able to provide for us to have a good Thanksgiving. I do the same thing back home. I give away turkeys back home for the foundation I have back in Virginia. I know how it is, I know how hard it is around holiday times for parents to try to do their best to make sure their kids have a good Thanksgiving.”
Today, Finney-Smith says he is “most thankful being healthy, my kids being healthy, and obviously being able to be a blessing for other people.”
In the past, the Mavs have made a habit of taking shortcuts through free agency, but the modern edition of the team is based around making quality draft picks, developing them, and making timely trades that complement their overall team vision. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently shared this vision with Back Sports Page.
“We know that with the right players, the combination of our culture, multiple years with our coaching staff and our mind, body and skills development team, we can get better organically,” said Cuban. “ You are seeing the results of that this year. In particular our second unit has become an impact group that really has pushed us forward.”
“We are a very talented team,” said Kleber. “Obviously, some things are not going well yet. You can tell from the first preseason games where we really struggled, to the first season games we’ve made big improvements. We keep working on it everyday, even now there are still a lot of areas we can get better. You can tell things are clicking better and better every game. We want to keep that going.”
The Mavs kept it going over the weekend, winning a huge match-up with their I-45 rivals in Houston. It’s a matchup the Houston Rockets have owned of late, but the up-and-coming Mavs gave their fans something else to be thankful for on Sunday, handing the championship-caliber (and admittedly shorthanded) Rockets a blowout loss at home. Second-year phenom Luka Doncic scored 41 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis contributed 31 and 23 points, respectively.
There are undoubtedly some additional growing pains ahead for the Mavs, but if the first month of the 2019-20 NBA season is any indication, they are set to surprise a lot of people this year.