Mavs inspires a love of travel, teaches youth about international players through new state-of-the-art virtual program

A journey of thousands of miles really starts with a click for kids these days.

This summer, middle school students in South Dallas grew almost worldwide, Thanks to a state-of-the-art program created by Mavs Take ACTION! and To Fly Foundation.

Students simply put on a headset and zoomed in around the world to see dramatic views of Slovenia at the fortress of Würzburg, Germany.

Afterwards, youngsters open up a Mavs-inspired workbook and answer travel questions about the players who call each country and destination home.

“Mavs take action! Kamri Brown, who serves as Mavs Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator, wanted to work with TooFly because of the innovative aspect of bringing travel experiences to students who need to do so.” Didn’t get the opportunity.”

“We wanted to make sure all students had equal opportunities and were exposed to programs like To Fly. We love being able to create a ‘Mavs Tour’, giving students an immersive experience from the countries of their favorite Mavs players allowed to receive.”

In February 2022, the Mavs & Mavs Foundation gifted the most comprehensive technology center in the history of the franchise at Fore Oak Cliffs. The organization is now based in the former Moorland Family YMCA, which served as a community center for black leaders during the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights Movement.

Now it belongs to a new generation of world-changers and – world traveler,

That’s because, back in February, Mavs donned new high-tech Oculus headsets in a For Oak Cliff technology dedication to allow people to travel virtually. Then came the workbook and schedule, and this summer it all soared to new heights.

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Dallas Mavs: A Global Franchise

International travel is essential for the Mavericks as the franchise has long been one of the most diverse teams in the NBA, with players representing different countries over the past 40-plus years.

Current international players on the roster include Davies Burtons (Latvia), Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Josh Green (Australia), Maxi Kleber (Germany), Frank Ntilikina (Rwanda/Belgium/France) and Dwight Powell (Canada).

Natlikina, 6-4 guard for the Dallas Maves, has probably one of the most fascinating international stories in the NBA. His parents fled war-torn Rwanda and moved to Belgium, where the future NBA star was born. A few years later, her family immigrated to France, where Natalikina dazzled on the basketball court.

Last summer, he won a silver medal with France at the Tokyo Olympics and published a children’s book about his life.

Fleeing from a country during genocide and starting in a new land is an extraordinary story of survival. Natilikina is proud to represent every country, including Rwanda, where her parents were born and raised. Stories like why Mavs wanted to get into the world of travel with young people highlight.

Natilikina and Doncic, natives of Ljubljana, Slovenia, were just 19 when they made their NBA debut, and everything on and off the court was brand new.

“You deal with a lot of things in life and being a foreigner,” Ntilikina shared in a previous interview. “You’re coming to a new country and young, so you have to get used to basketball as well as a lot of things in life … and deal with cultural differences.”

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Thanks to the To Fly Foundation and virtual headsets, kids can now visit Doncic’s hometown of Natilikina, along with other locations representing Slovenia and Mavs. It bridges the gap between sportspersons and youth in exciting new ways. This allows children to ask questions and form more meaningful relationships.

When the NBA focuses on the communities and countries from which players come, it builds confidence for children locally and around the world. It humanizes the players and gives kids a chance to dream big.

Last year, the NBA had 109 international players representing 39 countries around the world.

The To Fly Foundation knows that the world outside you is about to be life-changing.

Co-founder Bola Ibidapo was born to Nigerian parents and was drawn to the world around her from a young age. His love for people fueled his passion.

Ibidapo also believed that travel should not be a privilege, so it stepped into the faith and co-founded the Too Fly Foundation with friend Brandon Miller in 2016 to raise the next generation of leaders.

He believes that now is the time to mold a leader.

“And I am proud to say that I am doing my part to encourage these talented young people,” shared Ibidapo.

To Fly aims to bridge the gap between students and opportunities by providing travel resources and experiences. The Foundation says that travel can change and inspire the next generation. This is especially true in the COVID-19 era and as the economy takes a hit.

[email protected] was created during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ibidapo, who also serves as executive director. “Two Fly wanted to create an experience that aroused the curiosity of young people at home who are unlikely to be given travel opportunities.”

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To Fly offers travel grants and passport scholarships to underserved students who wish to study or volunteer abroad but may not have the financial aid to do so.

The To Fly Workbook, created with the Dallas Maves, is probably one of the best travel and basketball printouts ever made for kids. Each page brings athletes and countries to life and sparks creativity for both young and old.

The travel experience and curriculum were shared with the students of Oak Cliff in June 2022.

To Fly and the Dallas Mavericks plan to expand the program throughout Dallas in 2022–23. Also for Oak Cliff will continue to promote technology opportunities for children and families in the Oak Cliff Superblock.

“Representing the Dallas Mavericks in this community means a lot to me,” said Oak Cliffs co-founder Taylor Toynes. “It is a true relationship for Mavs to always come and be very familiar. Building a real relationship with a professional sports team is a huge incentive.”

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