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Hoosiers abroad deliver long-distance favor back home

Hoosiers abroad deliver long-distance favor back home

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When it comes to teamwork — take a page from a special duo that calls Indianapolis home. 

Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga is a WNBA champion, claiming the game’s biggest prize with the Indiana Fever in 2012. Along the way, she met another person who knows what it is like to hoist the hardware at Bankers Life Fieldhouse — former Brownsburg High School standout Julian Mavunga. 

Mavunga led the Bulldogs to the 2008 4A State Title, with the help of some last second heroics from his lifelong best friend, Gordon Hayward. 

Jeanette, now retired from professional basketball, currently owns a great seat in the middle of Julian’s superfans in Kyoto, Japan. The two make the scenic, touristy city of nearly 1.5 million residents their second home.

Last week, the world watched as the country postponed the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Japan’s professional basketball season is also officially over. Leaving this decision for the pair of Americans abroad: Stay or come home? 

“It (Japan) is life as usual, it really is,” Mavunga said. “As of right now, they are doing life as usual, it is really hard for people in general to find (COVID-19) testing.”

With shops and businesses remaining open across Japan, the couple is weighing whether a quick return to the United States would be the right move.

“I have a mom who has a lot of health issues, he (Julian) has older parents, so if we were to go home we would self-quarantine for a couple of weeks,” Pohlen-Mavunga said. “Just looking at logistical things, for the time being, staying in Japan makes sense for the moment.”

Julian’s parents are back in the Indianapolis area and were also recently quarantined due to a recent trip to France.

With the constraints on normal daily activities in place, Julian had an idea: pick up his parents’ groceries from a world away.

After some quick thinking, Julian and Jeanette retrieved the grocery list and WISH-TV helped on the back end with the shopping and delivery.

This past weekend, Julian’s father Philip Mavunga answered the door in a bit of amazement.

He delivered a heartfelt message to his son and daughter-in-law before we left.

“Hey, man…I appreciate it,” Philip Mavunga said. “I didn’t see this coming at all. Thank you very much for this. Thank you, both you and Jeanette, thank you. And thank you to your wonderful friends.”

A grocery delivery from 6,600 miles away — proving no little favor is too far for family.