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Odom Receives NBA Community Assist Award for May

Jun 3 2004 4:39PM

Dancer Gallery Twelve

Players Discuss
the Season

In the Groove with Johanna

MIAMI, June 2 - HEAT forward Lamar Odom is the recipient of the NBA Community Assist Award for the month of May. With a new city and a fresh start, Odom had a breakout 2003-04 season for the HEAT, leading them to an unlikely fourth seed in the playoffs and the Eastern Conference Semi-finals. Not only has Odom had tremendous success on the court, but he has also had a tremendous impact in the Miami community this season.

When Odom found out that Robertson Auguste, a 13 year-old boy from the Hialeah area was the lone survivor of a fire that destroyed his home, he was touched and immediately wanted to help. Robertson managed to escape the fire, but lost four siblings and his mother, leaving him with only his 20-year-old brother who was not at home at the time of the fire.

Odom embraced the devastated brothers and took them under his wing. During the team’s playoff run, they were Odom’s guests at every home game. He spent time with them at the pre-game shoot-arounds and after the game as well. Additionally, he took them on a shopping spree for new clothes and shoes to replace what they lost in the fire.

“All of the players have been nice, but Lamar really came through. He makes sure we’re taken care of. We had never been to a pro basketball game, this whole thing is just crazy, amazing,” said Auguste.

“I’ve had losses in my life, so I understand the pain. For me to get tickets or sneakers or jerseys for them is the smallest thing. I’d do it 100 times over just to see them smile,” said Odom.

In addition, Odom has a passion for working with underprivileged kids. During the season he established “Lamar’s Lucky 7’s”, an in-arena section that provided 40 tickets to each HEAT home game for underprivileged children throughout the South Florida community. Thanks to Odom, transportation to and from the game, as well as hot dogs and sodas were provided for all in attendance. He also made sure to pay each group a visit prior to the game.

The NBA will make a $5,000 donation to the HEAT Foundation on behalf of Odom. He joins Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers (April), Carlos Boozer of the Cleveland Cavaliers (March), Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks (February), Karl Malone of the Los Angeles Lakers (January), Jermaine O’Neal of the Indiana Pacers (December), Aaron McKie and Marc Jackson of the Philadelphia 76ers (November), and Rashard Lewis of the Seattle Sonics (October) as winners of the NBA’s Community Assist Award for the 2003-04 season.

As the recipient of the NBA Community Assist Award, Odom 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.” Last season, NBA Commissioner David Stern presented former San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson with an honorary plaque and announced that all future winners of the NBA Community Assist Award would receive the David Robinson Plaque.

The NBA Community Assist Award is given out monthly by the league to recognize players for their charitable efforts. The award honors the NBA player who reflects the passion that the league and its players have for their communities. All 29 NBA teams are able to nominate a player for the award each month.

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 online 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.