As Puerto Rico reels from Hurricane Maria and the accompanying devastation, figures from the world of sports have stepped up to bring aid and relief to the island. Carmelo Anthony has created a fundraising campaign, and he’s using his press conferences to bring awareness to the plight of his ancestral homeland. Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has also over $200,000 for the island with a campaign of his own. Now, Dallas Mavericks point guard and Puerto Rico native J.J. Barea is doing his part with a help from the NBA’s most visible billionaire.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported on Tuesday that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban lent Barea the team plane so that he could fly to the island and drop off supplies. Barea will make his return to the United States with his mother and grandmother, while his father will stay on the island to help the recovery process. In a text message to ESPN, Cuban said that all praise should go to Barea: “I was really proud of J.J. and how quickly he got involved and how hard he worked to make all of this happen.”
As Anthony and Posada did before him, Barea also created a Youcaring page to raise funds for the island; the campaign has already raised close to $120,000 from over 1,000 donors. The 33-year-old Puerto Rico national team star confirmed that he finally spoke to his family on Sunday after struggling to reach them following the storm: “They’re OK. But it’s still rough there.”
This sense of community is necessary for the island right now as people are in dire straits, with gas, food, cash, and clean water all in short supply following the Category 4 storm that rocked the island on September 20. The Trump administration has been criticized for its misguided statements regarding Puerto Rico, and so far they have also denied a request to waive The Jones Act, which would temporarily suspend shipping restrictions so that supplies can be delivered to the island.
Wondering how you can help Puerto Rico? We’ve collected a list of places where you can donate.