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At the time, the Mavs were in the middle of a home game against the Denver Nuggets when word came from the NBA that this would be their last game because the season was going to take a 30-day hiatus. Those poignant words were uttered after – three hours to the north of Dallas – Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive for Wholesale Denver Nuggets Jerseys COVID-19 as his team was preparing to play the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kleber was oblivious to it all. Until. . .

“I was in the game, then I got subbed out and I was sitting down next to Luka (Doncic), and Luka said the season is canceled,” Kleber said. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s a joke.’ He said it got postponed, and I really didn’t want to believe it because it Wholesale New Orleans Pelicans Jerseys seemed so unrealistic. And then I asked a couple of other people and they confirmed it. It was crazy and surprising when it happened.

“It felt like, well (the coronavirus is) here now and we shut down the entire league when nobody was expecting it. It’s like, ‘Wow, I guess we’re going to stop at this point and stop life a little bit.’ That’s what it felt like, because you go home, you don’t know what the Wholesale Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys plan is, you don’t know what’s happening next.”

Indeed, it was one year ago today when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic. After the NBA shut down game operations, the next day several other sports leagues followed suit.

Then, a little over two months later, more cloudy days ensued when a nationwide protest was sparked after George Floyd died in Minneapolis while in police custody.

Longing to flip the switch and offer some support in his community, Kleber, owner Mark Cuban, along with Mavs players Dwight Powell, Jalen Brunson and Justin Jackson attended a prayer vigil for Floyd outside the Dallas Police Department.

“It was really a great sign from the guys that went from the team,” Kleber said. “Mark is the No. 1 guy who starts off everything, and when Authentic Basketball Jerseys Cheap we had a chance I wanted to go and stay safe out there.

“We wanted to go because we wanted to show that we’re part of the community and part of this and we wanted to fight for the right things. I remember that day. We were standing outside there and listening to everybody talk and it was kind of like a goosebump moment. It was a special day for sure.”

Kleber also was part of the Courageous Conversations rally held outside of American Airlines Center. Mavs chief executive officer Cynt Marshall, assistant coach Jamahl Mosley, former Mavs players Sam Perkins and Cedric Ceballos, former Dallas police chief Renee Hall, Dallas Independent School District superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa and Kleber were among the speakers.

Kleber received his invitation from Marshall after he was on a call with Marshall and other Mavs employees.

“At the very end (Marshall) asked me if I had any comments or opinions on what’s going on right now,” Kleber said. “Being from Germany, maybe I have a different view.

“So I just told my opinion on some things that were going on and she really liked what I had to say, so she said, “Maxi, we would like to have you talk at the arena on this day.’ If we have the chance to talk on something, especially on stuff like racism – things that should never happen in the times that we’re living right now – I think it’s a good use to come and speak on that.”

Scott Tomlin, the Mavs’ vice-president of basketball communications, said Kleber was among the players who pitched in and did a lot while the 2019-20 season was postponed.

“They donated to UT-Southwestern, they paid for the childcare of the workers who were working overtime, and there also was the social justice piece with Cuban when (Kleber) went with Cuban to the George Floyd vigil downtown,” Tomlin said. “Maxi was one of the guys that donated meals to frontline workers.

“He donated meals from a local restaurant to frontline workers, so he supported the restaurant and he supported the frontline workers, which was a cool thing.”

Those donations and appearances in the community — along with the contributions he’s made on the basketball court – is why Kleber is considered as one of the Mavs’ multi-dimensional players.

“Maxi is one of five most underrated players in the NBA,” Cuban said. “He is a Top 10 three-point shooter and a Top 5 defender. He is so valuable to us.

“When he was out (earlier this season battling COVID-19), we obviously are not as good. (Since) his return, we have seen the results. But more importantly he is just a really, really good guy with a great heart. He is valuable on the court and just as valuable off the court.”

Meanwhile, as news was feverishly circulating on the Mavs’ bench during the March 11, 2020 game against the Nuggets about the status of the NBA, Tomlin finally received a memo from the NBA about the situation. From there, he gave his cell phone to Cuban, which led to the much-seen reaction from the Mavs’ owner when he initially discovered the NBA was going to go on a 30-day hiatus.

“We are all glued to Twitter trying to figure out what was going on in Oklahoma City, because they just canceled that game, and they canceled that (New Orleans Pelicans-Sacramento King) game on the West Coast,” Tomlin said. “So, we were the only game going on and I’m trying to figure out what was happening around the league.

“I was just trying to stay aware and I was on my phone a lot and I got that memo (from the NBA) that came through about the NBA going on a 30-day hiatus and I immediately jumped up and went over and showed it to Mark, and that was the first that he had seen it. It all happened so fast that what you saw was everybody just sort of processing what was going on.”

The Dallas-Denver game continued, and the Mavs wound up defeating the Nuggets, 113-97. But that took a backseat to the intense medical situation that was unfolding around the league.

Because no one was exactly sure when – or if – the NBA season would restart after it shut down on March 11, Kleber decided not to fly home to Germany and visit his family and friends.

“I honestly at the beginning thought we might start the season, because you read all the rumors,” Kleber said. “And then it said if we don’t start the season before this and this date, then we probably would have to cancel it.

“And then, all of a sudden it got postponed. At that point it didn’t make sense for me to fly home any more even though it would have been nice to see my family during that time obviously. I stayed the entire time in Dallas and did my workouts here and hung out here by myself.”

Kleber suddenly had more time on his hands to pursue his hobbies like reading and playing the guitar.

“Since I only worked out in the morning by myself, I had more time to get back to reading and online studying,” he said. “I just got back to hobbies now that I had a little bit more time than I used to during the season, because it was pretty boring — other than sunning on my balcony a little bit.”

Now that the United States appears headed towards a vaccine surplus, Kleber is hoping for better days ahead.

“It’s not an easy season for everything just because there are so many changes,” he said. “When you’re on a longer road trip you can’t even leave the hotel other than for an hour for a walk.

“It’s weird times, but we have to adapt to it and we’re very blessed that we can continue this season and play, and we have to make the best of it.”

Upon reflection, Kleber acknowledged that March 11 is a day that will live in infamy and took its toll on everyone associated with the NBA. But commissioner Adam Silver said this past weekend at the All-Star game that he’s hopeful of starting the 2021-22 season at its regular scheduled time.

“That’s what everybody is used to, so I think we would like to start the season on time if possible,” Kleber said. “Obviously we still have to see how things develop, but I think the NBA is doing a great job in organizing things and doing whatever they can.

“I look forward to having a normal season again, and I hope that’s the case. But (March 11, 2020) sure stopped everything and made for a weird situation. It was a crazy day.”

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