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NBA’s J.J. Barea speaks to Holyoke High about his Career On and Off the Court

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J.J. Barea speaking to Holyoke High School students

J.J. Barea speaking to Holyoke High School students

Tessa Moriarty

Tessa Moriarty

J.J. Barea speaking to Holyoke High School students

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On Friday, September 7, 2018, Jose Juan “J.J” Barea, an NBA player for the Dallas Mavericks team who was recently honored at the Basketball Hall of Fame, came to Holyoke High School and spoke to the senior class and select other students about his life and career in basketball, inspiring them to always try their best, be good people, and never let go of their dreams.

J.J. Barea, a native of Puerto Rico, was granted acceptance into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA and awarded the Mannie-Jackson Basketball’s Humanitarian Award on Thursday, September 6, 2018. Barea was honored for his big heart, as he played a large part in helping his homeland of Puerto Rico recover from the destruction of Hurricane Maria. After the hurricane, he coordinated many trips to Puerto Rico to deliver supplies and expanded the J.J. Barea Foundation to offer economic help to nonprofit organizations across Puerto Rico. Barea’s good character is also shown through his attitude towards those around him. His family and friends are extremely important to him, he always tries to maintain an optimistic attitude, and he believes that every person is special and should always “treat everybody right.”

Barea played many sports throughout his childhood, including baseball, tennis, golf, and basketball, before he singled in mainly on basketball. He held school to a very high standard and was rarely absent. After high school, he attended Northeastern University in Boston, MA , where he pursued his passion for basketball and trained extensively to get better, often getting up at very early hours before class, to put in extra work at the gym. Even though he was not drafted right out of college, he remained positive. He participated in the Dallas Mavericks summer league and training camp and shortly after was signed off to a free agent and began his career on the Dallas Mavericks NBA team in 2006. Nearly thirteen years later, he’s still playing for the NBA.

Barea told Holyoke High, “It wasn’t easy. The journey’s been hard and I almost gave up many, many times. I’ve experienced a lot of band-aids…turnovers…missed shots, but through it all I always tried to remain positive.” He encouraged Holyoke High students to always put 100% into everything that they do and to not let setbacks make them lose their spirit and convince them to throw in the towel.

Towards the end of the assembly, Alex Morse, Mayor of Holyoke, declared Friday, September 7, 2018, and for every year to come, J.J. Barea Day in the city of Holyoke, in recognition of Barea’s exemplary character (on and off the court) and his service to Puerto Rico.

The Herald and Holyoke High offer congratulations to Barea on his well-deserved award and are thankful for the opportunity to have heard him speak!

To learn more about the J.J. Barea Foundation click here.

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NBA’s J.J. Barea speaks to Holyoke High about his Career On and Off the Court