Okay, what has helped me, and I alluded to it earlier, was having a set of values. And when I got to the Mavs, we wrote down a set of values and they spell CRAFTS: character, respect, authenticity, fairness, teamwork and safety, both physical and emotional safety. So everything we do, everything we respond to, our business plan, employment, everything is around this. So you work at the Mavs, it’s values-based employment.
And so when things come up, we make our decisions, and we respond based on those set of values. So when COVID hit, we had a business continuity plan in place, which, you know, if you’re a good business, you always have it in place, you just plug in the crisis.
We had a technology infrastructure that was unmatched. And so we could send our people home immediately. And so once we took care of our people, the players were situated, we let everybody know that we’re going to continue to pay for them, pay them, we don’t want people to think that we’re going to have a financial crisis.
Once we did all that, our leadership team sat in a conference room, looked at those set of values and said, “Okay, what do we do next?” And what we realized is that we may not be playing the game of basketball for a while, because we don’t know when it’s going to come back. But we’re playing the game of life, with people right now.
And so we put together a plan to reach out to the community. We put together a plan to figure out how to keep our employees engaged. We figured out where we could put some of our charitable dollars to organizations, to healthcare workers who might need daycare, to schools that we’re trying to provide virtual learning to the kids. I mean, we just laid out a list of things and said, “Okay, we got to step it up now.” And so we’re in COVID, and all that is going on.
And then of course, May 25 hits and George Floyd gets killed. And now we respond to that. And that’s based on a set of values. We knew we had to step up. And we did. Our players responded. So appropriately. You probably saw them with Equality on the back of their jerseys when they were playing in the bubble. The NBA responded beautifully.
And then we put together Courageous Conversations for the whole community. Because as the basketball team, we are normal conveners of people. That’s what we do. We bring people together. And so we brought them together on June 9th, socially distant, 200 people, communities that we’re going to have a conversation about race. And it was called Listen—so there’s that word again—Learn, Unite.
And unite around what? Well, unite around an action plan for this community, to promote social justice, to eliminate racial disparities and inequities, and to drive some sustainable change. And so we ended up with a plan called Mavs Take ACTION that we launched after that community conversation, because that’s what we do. That’s what we do.