Dallas Morning News

Dallas Mavs CEO Tells Community, ‘We Play for You'

Marshall says she is ready to focus on basketball and not the organization's scandalous past

"Aren't you excited? I can't wait. I can't' wait!"

Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall radiated joy from head to toe as she talked about the start of the 2019-2020 season.

What should fans expect? "One that's even better than any they've had in the past," she smiled.

Marshall says she is ready to focus on basketball and not the organization's scandalous past.

Owner Mark Cuban hired her Feb. 21, 2018 as Chief Executive Officer amid a scandal in the Mavericks' front office.

Twenty months later, Marshall earns praise for launching a 100-day plan to clean up a toxic environment and create a culture of diversity and inclusion.

"We are the standard. We are the standard," she said as she talked about the successful turnaround.

She now wants to use that platform for a greater purpose.

In an open letter printed in the Dallas Morning News and titled "We Play for You," Marshall announced a season-long campaign to make community, philanthropy and charity initiatives a driving force in decisions.

"And when Mark said he wanted to take it to a new level, it wasn't just in the business office. It wasn't just on the basketball court. He told us to get in the community. He launched us and said do more out there, be more visible," she said.

Greater visibility includes a day of service last month where everyone from the court to the front office volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.

A $15,000 donation went along with it.

Guard Jalen Brunson now with his second year on the team says the desire to give back is as much a part of him as basketball.

"It's definitely coming from the heart," he said. "Sometimes, money does the trick, but I think the experience you get to do with other people and meet other people, it goes a long way. Something you remember for a long time."

"And it comes back to this is why we play which is more than basketball. That we are all part of the family, the sense of belonging for the fans but also the team, and all of us together is why we play," said Katie Edwards, president of the Dallas Mavericks Foundation.

"And to have the players and the coaches and everyone buy into that, it feels good," Marshall agreed. "It feels good every day. To know we are truly making a difference."

And for her, it feels good to turn the page, tell a different story about the Mavericks and brag about the team she leads — half of whom are now women.

"She's part of the 50%, yeah. We're at the table together," Marshall smiled as she fist bumped Edwards. Marshall promoted Edwards last year from the Mavericks' senior director of community relations to vice president.

"Katie is a rock star," Marshall said. "She represents who we are at the Mavs. She's talented, smart. She works hard. And just needed someone to come in and recognize her."

As Marshall puts others in the spotlight, she plans to step back and reduce her high-profile public appearances.

"I actually don't like going out doing all this," she confessed. "I want to be behind the scenes helping these people fly and put them out front."

Marshall wants to be in the office more to "keep a pulse" on the culture she's created.

"I don't lose sight of what my job is every day, to create an extraordinary work culture for the people who work at the Dallas Mavs, to serve the coaches, to serve the fans and provide them an unmatched fan experience," she said. "I know every day what our mission is. My job is to make sure we live up to the workplace promise that says at the Dallas Mavs, every voice matters, and everybody belongs."

And in cutting back on a packed schedule, Marshall also wants to spend more time with the team she appreciates and loves.

"I'm in a great place in my life right now and I want to enjoy it every day. I don't want to be going across the country," she laughed.

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