Mavericks guard J.J. Barea took the Mavericks team plane to Puerto Rico on Monday to deliver supplies to the devastated island.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban loaned him the use of the plane on Monday to help with Hurricane Maria relief efforts. Barea dropped off the supplies and returned to Dallas Tuesday afternoon. ESPN was the first to report the use of the Mavs plane.
Barea brought his mother and his grandmother back with him to Dallas. He spoke about the hurricane-ravaged U.S. territory he saw while on the island.
“Puerto Rico is everything to me. That's where I'm born and raised. That's where I got all my family. Puerto Rico is completely destroyed. Worst ever down there. We need everything from gas to water to food to medicine,” he said. “Mark Cuban never hesitated to help me out, let me borrow the plane. And we went down there with a plane full of stuff. Everything went smooth today so we're hoping to do it again this week. It's really bad down there so we need all the help."
The mission was mobilized in about 48 hours. Barea got word that Cuban would lend him his plane this past weekend and enlisted Puerto Rican friends in the Dallas area to collect donations.
The donations ended up filling seven 18-wheelers with toiletries, food and water.
Barea says he would like to be able to take more supplies to Puerto Rico. The problem is getting private planes donated and airport slots to be able to fly into San Juan.
Barea is the only active player in the NBA who is from Puerto Rico.
The situation is considered dire, as only a handful of stores and restaurants have re-opened since the Category 4 storm roared across the island Sept. 20. Nearly everyone on the island has no power nearly a week later and more than half the people don't have water.
Barea’s online fundraiser for Puerto Rico has raised more than $110,000 so far.