Mavs Star Jumps Up to Fight Hunger One Block at a Time

Last year, Kristaps Porzingis blocked enough shots to donate $104,000

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Kristaps Porzingis is an offensive and defensive force on the court. He racks up the three-pointers, and at 7-feet, 3-inches tall, he stretches those long arms to stop shots.

Unknown to a lot of people, the Dallas Mavericks center is using that skill to stop hunger.

"It's kind of a big part of my game. I'm a guy that protects the rim and why not make it double as good? I'm helping my team to be successful and also helping off the court some people," Porzingis told NBC 5.

Every time he blocks a shot, Porzingis donates $500 to the Mavs Foundation which then distributes it to local organizations fighting childhood hunger.

"It's probably one of the worst feelings as a kid, to feel that feeling of hunger and not being able to eat. So whenever I heard that idea, I was like, yes, kids have to be healthy growing up," he said.

The idea became the #KrisStops Campaign. Last year, Porzingis blocked enough shots to donate $104,000. He's up to $24,000 this season.

"There's a lot of stuff I do and I don't really talk about it, " he said. "There's a lot of stuff I do back home in Latvia where we're not as rich of a country than the United States is. It's in my heart. I just want to give back, and I'm blessed to be able to play basketball and make a lot of money and have a good life for my family, for my people around me, for myself. And why not give back?"

Porzingis doesn't brag about that part of himself but recently shared his pride in a post on social media hoping to motivate others to fight for kids, too.

"I think because of the tweet I posted, it kinda got a little more attention" he smiled.

In our conversation, Porzingis, the highest-paid player in Mavs history, spoke candidly about gratitude for his success and the big heart inside the big guy.

"It's not something forced. It's not something somebody told me to do it. It's just something I wanted to do. And, every time you do something good, it gives you a feeling of wanting to keep going. And that's where I'm at now. And this idea came, and it just feels right to do it," he said as he talked about doing more to help kids locally and back in his home country of Latvia, where he builds courts for kids to play outside.

"Many things that we've been doing under the radar and many things I'll keep doing. This is probably, this is my first interview talking about these kinds of things, actually. I just hope there are more people out there that can inspire from this and also, donate whatever they are capable of," he said.

That's already happening for the #KrisStops Campaign with fans making donations to support the fight against childhood hunger.

"They also donate a little part of their money to the same cause. I'm very thankful for them also and Whataburger also jumped in on this. They're donating $100 for each block also. Very grateful. That also gives me a good feeling, that it's like a chain reaction that more and more people are jumping on this and I'm just extremely grateful to be in this position and I'll keep doing it," he said.

Porzingis missed a few games at the beginning of a shortened season, and for a moment in our talk, he lowered expectations for donations this year then as he thought about it, made a fast adjustment.

"I might be able to, though. I have to get my blocks up a little bit but we're getting there. If not, we'll find a way how to donate money for sure," he smiled.

ONLINE: Learn more about giving to the KrisStops Campaign and the Dallas Mavericks Foundation.

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