NEW YORK, July 11 -- Boston Celtics forward Antoine Walker has been selected to receive the NBA Community Assist Award for his community outreach during the month of June.

Since being selected in the first round of the 1996 draft, Walker has made an immediate impact in both Boston and his hometown of Chicago. His commitment to the community was evidenced by his community activities throughout the month of June.

Antoine Walker was honored for giving a helping hand to the community.
Jesse D. Garrabrant
NBAE/Getty Images
Walker tipped off the month of June by presenting the first prize grant of $5,000 to the winners of Real Deal 2002. The winner, the 8th Grade Class at Irving Middle School, helped students and faculty feel better about their school by improving their school grounds and creating a "Peace Garden."

The class also took steps toward a promising future by creating a large mural on tapestry, depicting the pledge of 8 Affirmations of a good student. The 1st runner up received $2,000 and the other schools received a $1,000 grant -- there were ten schools total.

The Real Deal Program, founded by Walker in 1998, touches the lives of more than 1,000 at-risk Boston Public eighth graders each year by rewarding those who become involved in their neighborhoods through innovative community service programs. The program promotes creative classroom and community service projects that teach valuable lessons of teamwork, goal setting and giving back to the community.

Also in June, Walker celebrated overwhelmingly successful events for the 8 Foundation. On June 21st, Walker hosted the "Cruisiní with the Captain of the Cís" celebrity harbor cruise, raising $30,000 to benefit the 8 Foundation. The mission of the 8 Foundation, established in 1997, is to provide positive life experiences and opportunities for inner-city youth and to foster stable and loving environments for these young people by offering support to single parents. The 8 Foundation also offers free week-long basketball camps to inner-city children of both Boston and Chicago and provides funding to financially-strapped AAU basketball programs.

"Being recognized for my efforts in the community is very uplifting," said Walker. "I started The 8 Foundation with the hopes of making a real difference, and I take this responsibility very seriously. I would like to thank the NBA, the Celtics and the staff of The 8 Foundation for their support."

As the June Community Assist Award winner, Walker will receive a $5,000 donation from the NBA to the charity of his choice.

Each month, all 29 NBA teams nominate a player for the Community Assist Award, other nominees for June included Detroit Pistonsí Rodney White, Miami Heatís Mike James and Orlando Magicís Monty Williams.

The NBA, its teams and players are committed to programs that improve the quality of life for all people and has created and implemented programs that address important social issues, with a special emphasis on reading and on-line literacy initiatives for children. The NBA and its 29 teams make a difference in North America through the Read to Achieve Program, donations to charities and the implementation of community outreach initiatives, and through the production and airing of public service announcements.