A charity basketball game for a little boy got a big boost Tuesday from the Dallas Mavericks.
Members of the Mavericks organization added some NBA excitement to Malik Madness, a special night for 10-year-old Malik Little who has been diagnosed with lymphoma.
The Mavs ManiAACs and mascot Champ performed during a game between Malik’s classmates from Merriman Park Elementary in the Lake Highlands area of Dallas.
Mavericks tickets, a signed Mavericks basketball and a Dirk Nowitzki jersey were among the prizes raffled off during the event at Lake Highlands High School. Malik, a fifth-grader, was also presented home and road Nowitzki jerseys by Champ.
"It’s really cool," said Malik, who sat courtside for the festivities. Malik, a big basketball fan, had a special message for everyone who helped make Malike Madness happen: "Thank you."
The event started out as a service project for Girl Scout Troop 1223, said troop leader Lisa Wentzel. Things started rolling when The Ticket sports radio host Corby Davidson, who lives in Lake Highlands, got involved.
Davidson’s show, The Hardline, broadcast from Lake Highlands High prior to the charity game. Davidson is also the one who got Mavericks owner Mark Cuban behind the effort to help Malik.
"It is awesome," Wentzel said about the Mavs’ involvement. "Mark Cuban just immediately said, ‘Help them out.’ He spoke about it on the radio today. You get him behind him you and great things happen. It has been an embarrassment of riches, it really has."
The event had a personal connection for one member of the ManiAACs, the Mavs’ beefy, all-male dance team. Benjamin Perkins’ son, Benjamin Jr., attends Merriman Park Elementary and knows Malik.
"Great kid," said Perkins, a seven-year ManiAACs veteran. "I hate that he’s going through what he’s going through. But all in all, God is good and we have support, and we’re here to pull him through it."
Anyone wishing to donate funds to help defray Malik’s medical costs and mail a check, payable to Malik Little, Credit Union of Texas, 8131 LBJ Frwy, Suite 550, Dallas, TX 75231-1329.