New York, Dec. 10 -- Dallas Mavericks’ forward Michael Finley, who was recently named Co-Western Conference Player of the Month along with teammates Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, will receive his second league honor of the season as he has been awarded the NBA Community Assist Award for November.

As a member of the Mavericks’ All-Star Reading team, Finley helped dedicate a Reading and Learning Center at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas/Mesquite Texas at the beginning of November.

Steve Finley gets high marks for his community work as well as his court excellence.
Glenn James
NBAE/Getty Images
Prior to Thanksgiving, Finley challenged Mavs fans attending the November 23rd game to donate funds to the North Texas Food Bank, agreeing to match donations up to $10,000. In addition, he encouraged teammates Nick Van Exel and Raef LaFrentz and owner Mark Cuban (via the Dallas Mavericks Foundation) to pledge the same amount. The total amount raised was more than $43,000, and all donations from Finley’s endeavor will go to the food bank. He also participated in the team’s annual Turkey Dunk, a thanksgiving party for 120 homeless children from ten Dallas-area shelters.

Finley also sponsors the Michael Finley Basketball Camp, works with Buckets for Hunger, Make-a-Wish Foundation of North Texas, and the Boys & Girls Club. He enjoys working with young children and encourages them to work hard, take their education seriously and believe in themselves to achieve a brighter future and success. He also shares with them his belief that teamwork and good sportsmanship leads to a better community.

"Kids are our future and if I can inspire even one child every chance I get, it is a mission accomplished," explains Finley.

Finley recently taped an introductory segment for the Mavericks Black History Awareness video story, which will be shown in-arena when Dallas hosts the Atlanta Hawks on February 18. The video presents the Mavericks partnership with the Dallas Children's Theatre and their educational outreach program related to the Underground Railroad and Civil War. Over a six-week period, six adopted elementary schools will be visited by local artists in residence once a week. At the conclusion of the program, participants will be encouraged to write an essay on the topic that was most interesting to them during that study unit. Winners of the essay contest receive game tickets and center court in-arena halftime recognition.

For the second year running Michael is the honorary commissioner of the Dallas Mavericks Basketball Leagues. There are over 20,000 kids participating in the Mavs Leagues from over 30 youth agencies in North Texas. Michael stepped up his commitment as commissioner this year and purchased a block of (40) season tickets for the league program, an expenditure of over $40,000. The tickets are distributed at no-charge to Dallas Mavericks Basketball League participants. Michael also taped a video announcement that runs on the Prostar prior to every home game welcoming the kids from the league program to the game.

Other nominees for November’s Community Assist Award included the Miami Heat’s Brian Grant, the New Jersey Nets’ Jason Kidd, the New Orleans Hornets’ George Lynch, the Golden State Warriors’ Jason Richardson, the Chicago Bulls’ Jalen Rose, the Philadelphia 76ers Eric Snow and the Phoenix Suns’ Scott Williams. Finley joins the 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 by the league monthly to recognize players for their community outreach efforts. The award honors the NBA player that 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.