J.J. Barea on Puerto Rico: ‘It’s really, really bad down here’
J.J. Barea, the only Puerto Rico native playing in the NBA, traveled to his homeland this week and his characterization of the tragic circumstances currently afflicting the region are profoundly troubling.
Barea, with the blessing of the Dallas Mavericks organization, missed the team’s first training camp practice Tuesday so he could fly into Puerto Rico when travel there was allowed.
Not only that, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban did his part to help Barea’s recovery efforts, allowing the veteran point guard the use of the Mavs team plane to deliver much-needed supplies in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Mark Cuban loaned the team plane to J.J. Barea to fly supplies to Puerto Rico. Barea will return tonight with his mother and grandmother.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) September 26, 2017
Barea, who along with wife, Puerto Rican actress/model Viviana Ortiz, traveled to Puerto Rico Monday and returned Tuesday with his mother and grandmother. But the devastation wreaked upon the island by the one-two punch of the hurricanes left Barea with a dire assessment of the situation.
“It’s really, really bad down here,” Barea said, via The Dallas Morning News. “It’s the worst ever here in Puerto Rico. It’s going to take months and months, maybe a year to get everything back to normal. We can do more. I know the U.S. can do more. And I know they’re going to start to in the next couple days. But we got to get it moving.”
The Mavericks team plane was loaded with such necessities as water, food and generators. Barea indicated he had no choice but to return home to help.
“Nothing in the world was going to stop me from being here,” Barea said. “This is my home, everything to me. Puerto Rico has given me everything in life. For me to have the contacts and good friends in Dallas and Mark Cuban gave the team plane and we’re trying to bring another one if it all goes good.”
Barea is expected to return to Mavs camp on Wednesday. And it goes without saying the entire organization, highlighted by Cuban, deserve credit for helping Barea with his commendable humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico.