Blazers star Damian Lillard wins J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award
The Professional Basketball Writer’s Association has awarded Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard with this year’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic.
Damian Lillard has won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award as voted on by the Professional Basketball Writer’s Association. He is the fourth Blazers player to win the award, joining Terry Porter, Chris Dudley and Brian Grant.
— Jason Quick (@jwquick) June 12, 2019
Since 1975, the PBWA has given the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award to players who show “outstanding service and dedication to the community.” The award was named after James Walter Kennedy, who served as the second commissioner of the NBA.
If anyone is deserving of a citizenship award, it’s Lillard. His play on the court speaks for itself, but it’s his willingness to give back to local communities that sets him apart.
According to an official report from the NBA, Lillard was one of five finalists for the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. Other nominees included Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
A seven-year NBA veteran, Lillard is being honored for supporting and inspiring high school students in Portland through his RESPECT program, which encourages youth to Show Up, Work Hard and Be Kind. Lillard, who has spent his entire career with the Trail Blazers since being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, started the anti-bullying platform in 2013 after meeting with Portland school administrators to identify schools that most needed a more positive culture among students.
This year’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award winner was chosen by a vote among the 200 writers and editors within the PBWA.
“Damian Lillard’s sustained commitment to inspire young people in Portland is inspiring,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “PBWA members honor him and commend his fellow finalists and nominees for their laudatory work.”
Though the Blazers were defeated in the Western Conference Finals, Lillard enjoyed a fine 2018-19 campaign. In 80 regular season appearances with the team, the former No. 6 overall pick racked up averages of 25.9 points on 44.4 percent shooting from the field (36.9 percent from beyond the arc), 6.9 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 35.5 minutes per outing.