New York, Jan. 15 -- Detroit Pistons’ forward Michael Curry has been awarded the NBA Community Assist Award for the month of December. As co-captain of the Pistons, Curry is a team leader both on and off the court.

Curry started his December outreach by continuing a canned food drive that he and the Pistons had originally intended to last through Thanksgiving, but due to the overwhelming response, Curry continued the canned food drive for three of the Pistons’ home games during the month of December and donated the food to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in downtown Detroit.

Michael Curry continued a Thanksgiving food drive right into December.
Ron Turenne/NBAE/Getty Images
In addition to leading the Pistons’ canned food drive, Curry also participated in several activities through the Detroit Pistons Read to Achieve program. On December 3rd Curry and teammate Tayshaun Prince read books to more than 50 children from the Guest Boys & Girls Club of Dearborn, MI. After the reading event, Curry, Prince and three lucky winners went on a 10-minute shopping spree for the Boys & Girls Club courtesy of Farmer Jack and General Mills.

Curry also recorded three public service announcements in December that focused on the importance of reading in children’s daily lives. He stressed the goal of the Read to Achieve program -- promoting reading and literacy with children and families, and instilling a life-long love of reading in young people. On December 10th, Curry joined forces with Harry Potter and hosted 300 students at a reading party and special screening of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Joining Curry and the students at a local Star Theatre were teammates Chauncey Billups, Hubert Davis and Corliss Williamson, and Detroit Shock head coach Bill Laimbeer and forward Swin Cash.

On December 19th, Curry went shopping at a local Meijer Superstore, purchasing toys for his Curry Canned Food Drive & Toy Exchange. A few days later, Curry encouraged people to bring nonperishable food items to St. Rita’s Catholic Church on Detroit’s eastside, where he exchanged each food item for a new toy he had purchased. All of the nonperishable items were donated to the Detroit Rescue Mission, which provides food and services for families and individuals in need.

"When you see people less fortunate then yourself, you realize all the blessings that have been given to you," Curry explained. "It is so important to help people as much as you can. We have a great responsibility to this community, particularly based on the support they have shown us through the years. I’m happy to go to work for them because they have been going to work for us."

Other nominees for December’s Community Assist Award included the Chicago Bulls’ Eddie Robinson, Dallas Mavericks’ Shawn Bradley, Golden State Warriors’ Antawn Jamison, Miami Heat’s Brian Grant, New Jersey Nets’ Jason Kidd, New York Knicks’ Antonio McDyess, Orlando Magic’s Tracy McGrady, Phoenix Suns’ Anfernee Hardaway, Portland Trail Blazers’ Damon Stoudamire and Seattle SuperSonics’ Gary Payton. Curry joins the Dallas Mavericks’ Michael Finley (November) and Philadelphia 76ers’ Todd MacCulloch (October) in the Community Assist Award winners’ circle for the 2002-03 NBA season.

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.