Luka Dončić surprises 80 hospitalized youth with gifts ahead of Mavs season opener

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DALLS – More than 80 children at an area hospital received the surprise of a lifetime this week when Dallas Mavericks sensation Luka Dončić sent helpers to deliver Jordan swag, new shoes, autographed photos and personalized No. 77 pepperoni pizzas.

To show his appreciation for the children who live in North Texas, Dončić recently came up with an idea to surprise patients at Children’s Health in Dallas and Plano to uplift their spirits.

Tuesday night at the Mavs Tipoff event, Dončić told fans that he’s more committed than ever to the DFW community, a place he now calls his Texas home. 

“I’m launching the new Luka Dončić Foundation here in Dallas,” Dončić shared with the audience. “I also have a foundation in Slovenia. It’s my way of showing appreciation to both places and giving back to the community.” 

Due to health and safety protocols, Dončić arranged for Children’s Health team members to hand-deliver a bag of surprises to 80 patients Tuesday. Each child admitted to the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Health received a pair of Jordan sneakers, plus a Jordan drawstring bag, hoodie and socks.

Dončić also made sure to include a few personal touches, providing all the children with an uplifting letter to spark hope and encouragement during a difficult time in their lives. He added an autographed photo for them to hang up in their rooms and eventually take home. 

“I really wish I could have been there to meet and talk to the kids but hopefully this surprise brought a smile to their faces and encourages them to stay strong,” Dončić shared. “I just want all the kids and parents to know I’m thinking of them.”

Each delivery also included crayons and a “Luka & Bobi” coloring book, featuring the animated BFF (best friends forever) relationship between Dončić and Dallas Mavs center Boban Marjanović. The “Luka & Bobi” video series that debuted last season also has been shared with Children’s patients.

Additionally, individual pizzas – with the number 77 written in pepperoni – were given to each patient and their family. Event organizers said that he customized each pizza to match the child’s preferences and dietary specifications. He also provided pizza to the dedicated healthcare workers who provide hope and encouragement to the children each day. 

And — to sweeten the deal — everyone received a heart-shaped frosted cookie adorned with No. 77. 

“Luka’s generous donation to Children’s Health for the patients at our Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders was fantastic,” said Brent Christopher, president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation. “These patients at both our Dallas and Plano campuses are fighting hard against their diseases and often have lengthy stays in the hospital. That means missing out on many everyday pleasures of just being a kid. Receiving these items from Luka brought huge smiles to our patients’ faces.”

It’s been a monumental year for the NBA superstar both on and off the court. 

In addition to launching the Luka Dončić Foundation devoted to helping children, the Mavericks named him the winner of its 2021 Off-Season Community Spotlight Award. He was also nominated for the NBA Care’s Off-season Community Assist Award – one of the highest off-court honors an NBA player can receive – for his “tremendous work in the community and ability to unite a global audience through the game of basketball.” 

This summer, Luka’s star was shining when he represented his home country, Slovenia, in its historic first appearance at the Summer Olympic Games, contested this year in Tokyo. After dramatically leading his team to the semifinals, Dončić returned to Slovenia to refurbish two basketball courts that he played on growing up in Ljubljana.

It’s a place where he first learned Luka Magic. Dončić said he was honored to give back to his hometown, much as he has done in Dallas, his adopted hometown in the U.S.

The beautiful new courts – featuring artwork designed by Dončić – include seating and lights; the work was an extension of a partnership with the 2K Foundation after Dončić appeared on the cover of the NBA 2K22 video game. 

During the historic winter snowstorm in February, Dončić made several donations to help Texans get through the tough times. He also supplied Air Jordan 1 shoes and Mavericks swag to healthcare workers administering vaccinations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dončić has developed a reputation for his kindness to children attending the games and his willing participation in team and NBA meet and greets. He’s regarded as one of the most giving athletes when it comes to children attending games. In a cluster of fans vying for autographs, Dončić searches out the children and youth among them, constantly creating memorable experiences for them. 

Dončić said he desires to give back to the game and community that provides him great joy.

Tuesday’s hospital event at Children’s Health was one more extension of the dedicated work he hopes to inject into the North Texas community with the Luka Dončić Foundation. 

“We appreciate him here in Dallas, and we appreciate how he represents Dallas around the world,” said Dallas Mavs CEO Cynt Marshall. “One of the reasons I appreciate Luka is he truly loves our children. He’s a caring human being who gives his time, talent, and treasure. This is the spirit of the Dallas Mavericks.” 

To read more about Luka Dončić’s work in the community, click here.


 





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