By April 15, 2014 Read More →

Luol Deng wins 2013-14 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

NEW YORK, April 15, 2014 – Luol Deng of the Cleveland Cavaliers has been voted the 2013-14 winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, named after the second commissioner of the NBA and presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to the player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.

The two-time All-Star forward recently recorded a public service announcement for the, urging peace during a time of renewed conflict in his native South Sudan. In the video, he tells young people, “Look around you, and reach out. Make peace among those who are fighting. Forgive one another and encourage others to forgive. Build trust with people who fear each other. You are young, and if you are wise, you will build bridges with people your age that will last a lifetime. It is not too late to start … but it is not too soon either.”

This is his latest contribution to a number of international causes, including The Luol Deng Foundation, which is a global non-profit organization that uses basketball as a platform to give hope to those in Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The work in Africa focuses on building outdoor basketball courts and delivering initiatives to bring together local communities. Two courts, funded by Deng, will open in the summer of 2014 and include 12 hoops and locker rooms as well as basketball gear (shoes, jerseys, equipment).  Plans are also in the works to increase the support of schools and renovate and build schools in South Sudan.

The program in the United Kingdom, where Deng grew up, focuses on providing opportunities for participation in basketball camps, clinics and events for all sections of the community. The primary goals are to increase participation in grassroots development, provide advice and support for children to pursue the sport at an elite level, and increase opportunities for participation among young women.

In the U.S., Deng’s work has been focused primarily on the communities in which he has played, Chicago and Cleveland.  He has funded Thanksgiving and holiday events that provide meals and toys to the underserved and has also served as a mentor to the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” He is also an avid supporter of the NBA’s Basketball without Borders program and has participated in PSA’s to raise awareness for World Malaria Day.

“The breadth and depth of Luol Deng’s community service elevated him from a deep pool of committed candidates,” PBWA President Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer said. “But, really, all the candidates and their communities are winners.”

The PBWA comprises approximately 175 writers for newspapers, Internet services and magazines, who cover the NBA on a regular basis. Other candidates nominated by PBWA members this year were Miami’s Ray Allen, San Antonio’s Matt Bonner, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Toronto’s Amir Johnson, Atlanta’s Kyle Korver, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, the L.A. Lakers’ Steve Nash, Chicago’s Joakim Noah and the L.A. Clippers’ Chris Paul.

J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award winners
1974-75 Wes Unseld, Washington Bullets
1975-76 Slick Watts, Seattle SuperSonics
1976-77 Dave Bing, Washington Bullets
1977-78 Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons
1978-79 Calvin Murphy, Houston Rockets
1979-80 Austin Carr, Cleveland Cavaliers
1980-81 Mike Glenn, New York Knicks
1981-82 Kent Benson, Detroit Pistons
1982-83 Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers
1983-84 Frank Layden, Utah Jazz
1984-85 Dan Issel, Denver Nuggets
1985-86 Michael Cooper, Los Angeles Lakers and Rory Sparrow, New York Knicks
1986-87 Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons
1987-88 Alex English, Denver Nuggets
1988-89 Thurl Bailey, Utah Jazz
1989-90 Doc Rivers, Atlanta Hawks
1990-91 Kevin Johnson, Phoenix Suns
1991-92 Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
1992-93 Terry Porter, Portland Trail Blazers
1993-94 Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons
1994-95 Joe O’Toole, Atlanta Hawks
1995-96 Chris Dudley, Portland Trail Blazers
1996-97 P.J. Brown, Miami Heat
1997-98 Steve Smith, Atlanta Hawks
1998-99 Brian Grant, Portland Trail Blazers
1999-00 Vlade Divac, Sacramento Kings
2000-01 Dikembe Mutombo, Philadelphia 76ers
2001-02 Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat
2002-03 David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs
2003-04 Reggie Miller, Indiana Pacers
2004-05 Eric Snow, Cleveland Cavaliers
2005-06 Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
2006-07 Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
2007-08 Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
2008-09 Dikembe Mutombo, Houston Rockets
2009-10 Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia 76ers
2010-11 Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers
2011-12 Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
2012-13 Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
2013-14 Luol Deng, Cleveland Cavaliers

This press release was written by the NBA

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