NEW YORK, May 5, 2008 –Chauncey Billups of the Detroit Pistons is the 2007-08 recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association. The award is named for the second commissioner of the league and honors an NBA player or coach for outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Billups won the award for his charity work in Detroit and his hometown of Denver.
Among Billups’ charitable efforts in the Detroit area has been his involvement in the Children’s Center Annual Celebrity Golf Classic the past three years. All proceeds from the event benefit The Children’s Center, a non-profit organization established in 1929 as one of the nation’s first child guidance clinics. With Billups’ help, the organization has raised over $100,000 at each of the past three events.
The 10-year veteran has also supported Why Can’t I Go? (WCIG) the past seven years. Through WCIG, whose mission is to provide students the opportunity to learn through diverse traveling experiences, Billups flies a group of 20-30 underprivileged youth from the Minneapolis area to one Pistons game every year, providing tickets for them and meeting with the entire group after the game.
Billups’ main charitable effort in Denver continues to be his involvement in the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy with Regis University, an academic camp that readies kids for college. Billups takes part in a three-week camp each summer with students, promoting leadership, critical thinking, team work and conflict resolution skills.
The program strictly deals with academics and life skills. Graduates of the program who are accepted to Regis University receive Porter-Billups Academy scholarships that help balance tuition and fees to attend the university. In February, he hosted 10 youngsters excelling in the Porter-Billups Academy to a Pistons home game. The day included a trip to the Charles H. Wright African American Museum in Detroit as well as the Motown Museum.
The PBWA represents writers for newspapers, magazines and Internet services who cover the NBA on a regular basis. Members nominate players for the award, then a vote is taken by the membership of approximately 150. Charlotte’s Emeka Okafor was the other finalist for this year’s award.
Following is a list of all-time recipients of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award:
ALL-TIME J. WALTER KENNEDY CITIZENSHIP AWARD WINNERS
1974-75 Wes Unseld, Washington
1975-76 Slick Watts, Seattle
1976-77 Dave Bing, Washington
1977-78 Bob Lanier, Detroit
1978-79 Calvin Murphy, Houston
1979-80 Austin Carr, Cleveland
1980-81 Mike Glenn, New York
1981-82 Kent Benson, Detroit
1982-83 Julius Erving, Philadelphia
1983-84 Frank Layden, Utah
1984-85 Dan Issel, Denver
1985-86 Michael Cooper, LA Lakers
Rory Sparrow, New York
1986-87 Isiah Thomas, Detroit
1987-88 Alex English, Denver
1988-89 Thurl Bailey, Utah
1989-90 Doc Rivers, Atlanta
1990-91 Kevin Johnson, Phoenix
1991-92 Magic Johnson, LA Lakers
1992-93 Terry Porter, Portland
1993-94 Joe Dumars, Detroit
1994-95 Joe O’Toole, Atlanta
1995-96 Chris Dudley, Portland
1996-97 P.J. Brown, Miami
1997-98 Steve Smith, Atlanta
1998-99 Brian Grant, Portland
1999-2000 Vlade Divac, Sacramento
2000-01 Dikembe Mutombo, Philadelphia
2001-02 Alonzo Mourning, Miami
2002-03 David Robinson, San Antonio
2003-04 Reggie Miller, Indiana
2004-05 Eric Snow, Cleveland
2005-06 Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
2006-07 Steve Nash, Phoenix
2007-08 Chauncey Billups, Detroit