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USA Today via Reuters

Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. does have an interesting story to tell his grandkids. After seven long years of hustle in the NBA, Jones Jr. finally built a reputation for himself, making it to the NBA Finals as a starter. While the spotlight is on the 27-year-old forward, let’s take a look back at Jones’ wholesome moment with his fiancee, Shakara Pritchett from 2023.

In January, Derrick Jones Jr. took his then-long-time girlfriend Shakara on his team trip to Paris. The league had scheduled a game between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons at the City of Love to acknowledge the growth of the NBA in France. Little did Shakara know that Jones Jr. would throw a huge surprise at her.

The team camped in Paris for a few days and participated in several promotional events apart from gearing up for the game. While the Bulls won the game on the floor, Jones won it off the court. During the team dinner, the star picked up the mic and said, “It’s about that time. So I just got a question for Shakara: Will you make me the luckiest man in the world?” Leaving his girlfriend startled, he said the golden words, “Will you marry me?” on his knee, leaving his Bulls teammates to erupt in joy.

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Shakara, who was taken aback by the surprise, made it even more wholesome when she said, “You mean me…Hell yeah!” The Bulls’ official IG handle shared the moment with the caption, “Engaged in Paris,” with a heart and ring emoji.

Moreover, speaking of the moment, Jones said, “Once I knew we were coming here to Paris, I had it planned,” and also showed some love for the city, saying, “I was able to see the beauty of the city wherever you look. I loved it. It gave me even more motivation to do it.”

Derrick Jones Jr.’s romantic journey with Shakara

Derrick Jones Jr. and Shakara Pritchett have been together even before Jones made it to the NBA. The Mavs star met his fiance in Cleveland after her graduation and, at that time, he was preparing for his NBA draft in 2016. Speaking of the moment when he saw her, Jones said, “It’s just real hard to hide the ring. We met during my predraft in Cleveland. I was with my agent and out one night and we met; just like that. We’ve been together for seven years.”

While Jones aimed to get into the league in the 2016 draft, he went undrafted, leaving him to wait for another year. But, on the romantic side, he had his relationship intact. Following the proposal, he said, “I just like to treat my fiancee well… I want to make sure she’s treated well and happy at all points. I wanted to do everything I could to make sure she was happy.”

They made their relationship public in 2016 and continued to update their followers with regular updates on social media. The couple also gave birth to two kids in their 8-year-long relationship. While the 27-year-old has got it all right in his personal life, he has a lot left in his professional life.

Derrick Jones Jr. and his shaky journey in the league

In his 8-season-long career, he has played for five franchises. After going undrafted in 2016, Jones impressed the Phoenix Suns during the 2017 NBA pre-season and earned a contract with the Valley side. However, it didn’t fetch him any fortune, as he rarely played any game and moved to the Miami Heat franchise with a two-way contract.

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He spent a year majorly focusing on the Heat’s G-League affiliate. Eventually, he got a call-up to the main team and played his first game as a starter in 2018. With improved minutes on the court, Jones showed promising signs, averaging 7 points in the 2018-19 season. However, he got his big break in the following season, when he won the 2020 Slam Dunk contest.

Jones Jr. dropped a windmill slam from the free throw line to defeat Aaron Gordon to win the title. Following that win, the star even got himself a nickname Airplane Mode“. In the same year, Jones played his first-ever NBA Finals. Even though he didn’t have a role in the team, it marked a significant place in his professional career.

Cut to four years, Jones Jr. has once again made it to the Finals, but this time as a starter. Moreover, he isn’t just known for his dunking skills. The 27-year-old with a 7-foot wing span has a lot of impact on the defensive end as well. Apart from that, he will enter free agency in the 2024 offseason. With the amount of influence, he had in the Mavs color, the team might even look to retain him for the future. What do you make of Derrick Jones Jr. in the Mavs fold? Let us know in the comments.

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