Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks assistant Armstrong helping families with premature babies

Back in Dallas, around the Mavericks’ practice facility, he’s well known for being the guy who always rings the bell to mark an accomplishment by one of the players.

But Mavs player development coach Darrell Armstrong has also been answering the bell for a greater cause.

In 1999, he created the Darrell Armstrong Foundation For Premature Babies. He also has two child development centers in Orlando, where he played for the Magic from 1994-2003.

Armstrong’s baby girl, Maliyah, was born premature and weighed only 3 pounds, 8 ounces. The goal of the foundation is to make sure families facing issues involving premature babies are not left alone.

“I enjoy taking on that task and making a difference for somebody who might need some extra help,” Armstrong said. “My board members work hard, and I’m proud of them because I’m not in town most of the year, but they are still out there working and trying to provide better things for this foundation and also for the child development center.

“It’s been great to know that from playing basketball [we have] an opportunity to do something else to help others, because a lot of times we play basketball and we go home and spend time with our families. But I’ve always been in the community and doing things and trying to help other people out.”

Mavs owner Mark Cuban knows Armstrong’s foundation and child development centers well.

“DA does a lot of stuff with the community,” Cuban said. “I remember when he played when we’d go to Orlando and there would be all kind of different things that they recognized him for, and in Atlanta [where Armstrong also played] the same thing.

“He’s always been real active in his foundation and in giving back. There’s nothing but good about DA. He really stretches and really tries to do a lot for the community and that’s always a good thing.”

Armstrong keeps the foundation financially going through various entities including basketball, golf and bowling events, and via private donations. Contributions can be made at www.Dafpb.org.

Before the Mavs face the Magic at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Amway Center, Armstrong will visit one of his development centers. The families Armstrong has helped are plentiful, although he isn’t sure how many he’s assisted.

“I wouldn’t care if it was one or two,” Armstrong said. “It’s about providing something for a child who may not have an opportunity and providing something for a family who may not have an opportunity to get their child that extra care.

“I like to see people smile and I like to see other people enjoying their life. I always try to be a blessing to somebody else.”

3 Mavs on ballot

The Mavs have three players on the All-Star ballot that was released Friday: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Monta Ellis. The All-Star game is Feb. 14 in New Orleans.

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