Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has teamed up for the first annual Celebrity Purple Ping Pong event at Southern Methodist University in Dallas raising awareness and funding to find a cure pancreatic cancer.
“You find out a lot of people are connected with this cause because they lost a loved one to this disease,” said Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle.
And many did connect today including most of Carlisle’s basketball team.
“I like ping and it’s a good day off to come out here and have fun,” said Dallas Mavericks Guard J.J. Barea.
“If I can help it’s no problem and I really like to play ping pong,” said Dallas Mavericks Guard Rodrique Beaubois. “I’m really happy to be here.”
“It’s great to give back when people are struggling,” said Dallas Mavericks Guard DeShawn Stevenson.
Dallas Maverick Dirk Nowitzki came out too. While he struggles to get the ping pong ball over the net he knows its nothing compared to what victims of pancreatic cancer go through.
“It’s always a tragedy for families but if you stay together, stay strong and keep believing you can beat anything,” said Dallas Mavericks Forward Dirk Nowitzki.
Carlisle not only managed to get most of his team to support the cause he also reached out to other celebrities.
“It’s such a great cause and its local,” said 2008 Olympic individual all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin. “I’m a huge fan of the Mavs and I always have been.”
Olympic gymnast Carly Patterson also said yes but she asked for some help with Carlisle in return.
“Rick was helping me with my back serve and front serve or whatever you call it,” said 2004 Olympic gold medalist Carly Patterson. “He was helping me get a little warmed up.”
This charity is near and dear to Rick Carlisle’s heart because his friend and mentor Charles Jerome “Chuck” Daly also known as one of the greatest NBA coaches passed away from pancreatic cancer.
“When he found out he had it it was about two and a half months and he was gone,” said Carlisle.
“Chuck is missed all the time,” said former Dallas Maverick Derek Harper. “I think it’s a great gesture for Rick to do something like this honoring a guy like Chuck Daly.”
According to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network this disease is one of the least funded and publicized.
“Our ultimate goal is to really find a cure obviously for pancreatic cancer, find an effective treatment for pancreatic cancer and just make sure that people are aware that there are resources available for them when they receive a diagnosis,” said Media Coordinator Pamela Bethel-Leduff.
“Hopefully we’ll do not only this event but many, many more to come,” said Dallas Mavericks Forward Eduardo Najera.
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