Pitbull and Mark Cuban Offer Airplanes to Puerto Rico Relief Effort

Dallas Mavericks point guard used his team’s plane to deliver 40,000 pounds of supplies to his native Puerto Rico in the wake of Maria. Dallas Mavericks

In the wake of back-to-back-to-back historic hurricanes causing unprecedented damage to three separate areas, the general aviation community has responded with an incredible level of generosity. Now, as attention is focused on relief efforts in Puerto Rico — as work continues in southeast Texas and the Florida Keys — celebrities are raising the bar even higher by donating their own aircraft to the cause.

Florida-born rapper Pitbull (real name Armando Christian Perez) has offered his private jet to be used in the transport of cancer patients from Puerto Rico to the U.S. The popular artist's act of kindness may have gone unnoticed had it not been celebrated by Puerto Rico Congresswoman Jenniffer González on Twitter. In response to the attention, Pitbull told the New York Daily News, "Thank God we're blessed to help. Just doing my part." Prior to Maria, he also amplified the importance of safety before Irma struck Florida, and later asked his 26 million followers to donate for relief efforts.

Meanwhile, as his players opened training camp on Tuesday morning, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban handed the team plane over to point guard J.J. Barea, who used it to transport more than 40,000 pounds of food, water and supplies to his home island. Along with his wife, Puerto Rican actress Viviana Ortiz, Barea has raised more than $120,000 for relief through an online fundraiser.

"I am lucky to have an owner like Mark Cuban that has gigantic planes and a bigger heart," Barea told the team's website. "It took just one text to him and five minutes later we were in contact with everyone at the plane. A few hours later we were getting it loaded with food, water, and generators. We bought every generator we could find. We cleaned the shelves. We got it together very quickly."

"I was really proud of J.J. and how quickly he got involved and how hard he worked to make all of this happen," Cuban told ESPN. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle further explained that Barea would be evacuating his mother and grandmother, while his father stayed behind to "slug it out with all of the recovery efforts."

Jennifer Lopez also recently donated $1 million to Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico, and she reunited with her ex-husband Marc Anthony to create a "humanitarian initiative" of their fellow artists and celebrities to raise additional money and supplies.


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