Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea has been helping his native Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit the island in September.
In the immediate aftermath, he texted owner Mark Cuban to borrow the team plane and loaded it with basic supplies, like food, water and generators, for the survivors. On his return, he brought back 17 people, including his mother and grandmother, to safety.
He told KERA in September that his home was nearly unrecognizable.
“Oh, man, it doesn't look anything like Puerto Rico. The water's ugly. There's not enough sand. The green is gone...The only traffic is people all in line to go get gas. It's not good, man. It's the worst thing that could ever happen to an island or to Puerto Rico."
Nearly four months later, Puerto Rico still has a long way to go, but Barea efforts haven’t let up. He’s been raising money for storm relief and working with nonprofits in Puerto Rico dedicated to education and youth sports.
The latest effort? Ofo, a bike-sharing company based in China, has partnered with Barea’s foundation and donated 600 bright, yellow bikes — like the ones you can spot all over Dallas — for Puerto Ricans to use.
“Hurricane Maria destroyed many of our roads, people are without cars, and public transportation is limited, so getting around the island and having access to everyday necessities is still a big challenge,” Barea said in a statement.
Barea’s foundation received and assembled the bikes, and along with ofo, will hold an event Wednesday in San Juan demonstrating how to use and maintain them.