Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks centre Dwight Powell speaks with Caron Butler on systemic racism, importance of voting and more

This week, Dallas Mavericks centre Dwight Powell sat down with Caron Butler to discuss systemic racism, the power of youth leadership and the importance of voting as a part of the former NBA All-Star's one-on-one series.

You can watch the entire conversation here:

Earlier this month, Powell was named a recipient of the 2019-20 end-of-season NBA Cares Community Assist Award alongside Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings, Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks and Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Powell received the award for organizing immediate support for families and frontline workers in Dallas during the coronavirus pandemic, joining Luka Dončić, Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks Foundation in donating $500,000 to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital, lifting the spirits of youth during periods of physical distancing, continuing to support cancer patients and their families through the Dwight Powell Children and Family Support Fund, and more.

Powell is the first member of the Mavericks to receive the end-of-season honour since the league started recognizing it in 2011-12.

Powell on systemic racism

"The issues that we're facing are the fact that we have a group of minorities in this country that are not being treated fairly and are not being treated the same as the 'majority.'

"The simple solution is for everyone to understand that we all need to be on the same page and that we're all living in this country together and we need to have equal rights, and equal rights is us all coming together, literally, towards one common goal.

"In everything that we do here at the Mavs and in my personal life, I try to extend a hand to anyone who is willing to come along or join or even share their opinions in opposition because that's important as well. I think these conversations can't always just be with people that agree with the things that we're saying. We need to be open to sharing our ideas as well as learning because part of equality is understanding what the other side has to say about the things that you believe in.

"I think that's the most important question right there, is why is it important to come together, because there is no other way to get the things that we need to get done other than together."

Powell on the power of youth leadership

"I keep it as simple as possible, and that's be a leader.

"You don't have to stand up in front of your whole school and give a speech about equality, but you can set an example and be a leader in your actions. That comes down to the smallest things. You don't have to go out of your way to do something out of character to try and put yourself on the line, but I think every day you're faced with some decisions and I think in order to bring change, we have to have all of those small decisions go in the right way. That's in the way of equality, of fairness, of community.

"I think these kids, they're in a tough spot. It's different than how I grew up, I'm sure it's different from how you grew up, they're exposed to a lot. They're exposed to a lot of information, they're exposed to a lot of difficult things at a young age that they're forced to deal with, before you or I may have had to.

"I think for them, it's imperative that they communicate with elders, they communicate with teachers and leaders and try to force themselves to look up to people that are doing the right things in their community and latch onto them and be ready to learn, because that's the most important thing, is being a leader in the small things that you do and being willing to learn, being willing to listen."

Powell on the importance of voting

"Taking action and making change is voting. This is your chance.

"Unfortunately, I can't vote because I'm not a citizen, but I urge everyone to get registered and to vote because that feeling of what do I do, how can I help, what role can I play in this inflection point, in this era of change, right now there is nothing more important than voting because our voices have not been heard over generations.

"Small percentages of us, of minorities, Black and Brown people, have been hurt and have participated in the political system. It's imperative now - we have the right, we have the right, we must exercise it, we have no other choice."

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