The voting has closed for the season-long Kia Community Assist Award, with Damian Lillard among 10 finalists. Damian received the monthly award for March in recognition of his efforts to stop bullying in schools. Lillard is being considered for the season-long award for spearheading Portland’s “Respect, Pass it on” campaign. The honor is given yearly to the player that the NBA feels best embodies the spirit of community.
Other finalists include Tyler Hansborough (Indiana), David Lee (Golden State), Zach Randolph (Memphis), Kevin Love (Minnesota), Tyson Chandler (New York), Deron Williams (Brooklyn), Dwyane Wade (Miami), Kenneth Faried (Denver), and Chris Paul (L.A.C.).
Although the monthly accolade has existed for some time, this is only the 2nd season that the season-long award has been given. Last year, the Lakers’ Pau Gasol won the first ever season-long award for his above and beyond support of the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.
The winner of the award will receive a $25,000 donation from the NBA to the charity of their choice, as well as the David Robinson plaque which reads, “Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson who improved the community piece by piece.”
Given the vernal nature of the award, Lillard stands to become the first ever Portland Trail Blazer, and the first ever rookie, to receive it. There is stiff competition, but I patiently await the final tally.