Ro Blackman-A Mav For All Seasons

When the last basket was sunk eliminating the Dallas Mavericks from the league play-offs early on, starting guard Rolando Blackman didn’t retreat to some Maui beach-house to enjoy a longer-than-expected vacation. No, Ro’s way, since he arrived in Dallas in 1981 as a first-round draft pick out of Kansas State, has been to plunge into a host of charitable and community-related activities-primarily those that benefit children.

A typical off-season day for Blackman this past summer went something like this: first, an early morning stint as guest host for KLIF’s Norm Hitzges or celebrity jock for KKDA’s Tom Joyner, followed by an appearance at one of the four basketball camps he conducted for kids. Then a trip to the airport to scoop up several of his NBA superstar friends and opponents who agreed to appear at Ro’s camps. In between dashes, Blackman stopped to look in on his wife Tamara and two daughters, four-year-old Valarie and two-year-old Brittany.

Next came the opening ceremonies of the Texas Special Olympics in Austin, where Blackman served as a torch bearer and received his second consecutive “Pro Athlete of the Year Award.” Back in Dallas, the Hoop-D-Do tourney-for which Blackman served as honorary chairman-got under way, and then there were details to iron out for the Rolando Black-man/Big Brothers and Sisters Basketball Tournament in South Dallas. Onward, to a meeting concerning “Aisles for Smiles,” a joint fundraising effort of 500 Dallas/Fort Worth grocery stores benefitting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Then there was a flight to catch to Los Angeles, where Blackman led all scorers with thirty-one points in Magic Johnson’s benefit basketball game for the United Negro College Fund. Another flight whisked Blackman to the East Coast to his hometown of Brooklyn, where he attended ceremonies renaming a city park in his honor.

“All this is for the kids,” says the twenty-eight-year-old Black-man, “because their upbringing and growing up in a caring environment is the most important thing for them.”

How long will the Dallas Mavericks star maintain such a hectic off-season pace? Long after his playing days are over, he promises.

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