The Dallas Mavericks likely do not win the 2011 NBA championship without J.J. Barea. The 5’10 guard, who was never a top prospect, started the final three games of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat after coming off the bench all season. It changed the series as Dallas won three straight to capture their first and only championship in franchise history.
Barea played 14 seasons in the NBA, including 11 with the Mavericks in two separate stints. He went from an undrafted rookie that clawed his way to a roster spot in 2006 to a veteran leader and virtual coach in uniform in 2020. The Mavericks brought him back for training camp the following year with a guaranteed contract, but they waived him before the regular season started. Barea was emotional in his final press conference as he said goodbye to the Mavericks after a legendary run.
He kept playing professionally. First, it was in Spain with Estudiantes where he carved out a role and display his incredible pick and roll chops. Barea returned to his native Puerto Rico for his final two seasons. Barea announced his retirement following his team’s elimination, and he has been sharing posts congratulating him on an exception career on Instagram.
Dallas Mavericks legend J.J. Barea retires from professional basketball
Barea is a legend in Puerto Rico that just loved to play the game. The 38-year-old missed his final game with a leg injury, but he is ready to hang up the sneakers. Jose Juan noted he wants to take a break before jumping back into basketball. He has expressed a desire to coach in the past, and he currently works for the Mavericks in a part-time scouting and player development role.
Expect to see J.J. Barea take a little time off before jumping back in as a coach. Do not be surprised to see him on an NBA bench in the coming years as he was a fantastic leader and locker room presence in Dallas. He will also take on a role in his home country as he loves to give back to his native land.
Congratulations go out to J.J. Barea on a stellar playing career. Nobody expected him to even play in the NBA, but he defined the odds for 14 seasons that including winning a championship. Could he be the next Maverick to have his jersey retired? Mark Cuban should definitely make it happen. The only question should be do the Mavs retire his number 11 or 5?