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Matthews wins February's Kia Community Assist Award

By Official release
Posted Mar 29 2012 6:45PM

NEW YORK -- Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews is the recipient of the Kia Community Assist Award for February in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the community and his ongoing philanthropic and charitable work, the NBA announced today.

Kia and the NBA are honoring Matthews for his work giving back to children and families in the Portland community. During the past two seasons, Matthews has led a coat drive that benefits Portland's Police Activities League, which to date has collected more than 1,100 coats for local families in need. As part of his efforts, Matthews encouraged fans to donate via television and radio spots, social media and conducted an autograph session at a local clothing store. The Trail Blazers star also treated five children to a shopping spree and personally purchased each of them new coats, shoes and clothing in addition to providing them money to buy coats for their family and to make the drive's initial donation.

"Giving back to the community puts everything in perspective," Matthews said. "As players, basketball is something that we do, it's not who we are as people. Making a difference is what defines a person and I am grateful to be in a position to help children and families in need."

Understanding the advantage of positive role models for children, Matthews also serves as a spokesperson for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Sports Buddies program and regularly hosts basketball camps for young members where he emphasizes the importance of maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. In addition to his ongoing support of the Portland's Police Activities League through the coat drives, Matthews also participates in the organization's annual Thanksgiving meal donation and delivery program to provide local families with meals to celebrate the holiday.

As a Kia Community Assist Award recipient, Matthews will receive the David Robinson Plaque with the inscription, "Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson who improved the community piece by piece." In addition, Kia and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Matthews' behalf to the charity of his choice.

Since 2010, Kia Motors has been an NBA Cares partner, with participation in community events including the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service. Kia is expanding its NBA Cares partnership by serving as title partner of the Community Assist Award.

The league presents the Kia Community Assist Award monthly throughout the season as well as a final award at the end of the season to recognize players for their year-round charitable efforts. The award honors the NBA player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.

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