Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea returned to the team on Tuesday night after bringing Hurricane Maria relief supplies to his native Puerto Rico, and gave a dreary update on the state of the island.
Barea, who was lent the Mavericks team plane by Mark Cuban, brought food, water, and other supplies to Puerto Rico after speaking to his parents for the first time on Sunday.
Barea, the only active native Puerto Rican in the NBA, said on Wednesday the island is in bad shape (via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon).
“It’s awful,” Barea said. “People are struggling. It’s tough, people need a lot of help.”
Barea said there is a stark contrast between where he usually spends his offseasons and the island now.
“You always go to Puerto Rico — after the season I fly in — and you look out the window, and it’s beautiful. The water is blue, it’s green, there’s people moving around. You know, you feel the vibe,” Barea said. “Yesterday, you look out the window, and it’s dead. It is completely dead.”
Barea said it was good to be in Puerto Rico and see it in person, but there is a lot of work to be done.
“It’s gonna take a while because it’s just starting,” Barea said. “There’s not gonna be no power. A lot of people without water. It’s gonna be a long, long process so we just gotta keep helping out.”
MacMahon reported on Tuesday that Barea and his wife, Puerto Rican actress and model Viviana Ortiz, started a relief fund that had raised over $US140,000 by Tuesday. Additionally, according to MacMahon, Barea brought 30 people back with him on the Mavs plane, including an elderly woman in need of a transplant.
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