Trail Blazers Announce Anfernee Simons as 2021-22 Maurice Lucas Award Recipient
PORTLAND, Ore. (March 28, 2022) – The Portland Trail Blazers have named guard Anfernee Simons as the recipient of the 2021-22 Maurice Lucas Award, the team announced today.
The annual award was created in 2010-11 to honor the Trail Blazers player who best represents the indomitable spirit of Maurice Lucas through his contributions on and off the court, as well as in support of his teammates and the organization. In recognition of the award, the Trail Blazers will make a $5,000 donation to Simons’ foundation, Be A Light Inc.
Simons has been a very active member of the Rip City community since being drafted in 2018, lending support to families and youth throughout Oregon as well as back home in Central Florida through donations and events. Over the holiday season Simons provided turkeys, full Thanksgiving meals, toys and backpacks to families and children in need. The Altamonte Springs-native has focused on educational outreach, participating in Q&A sessions with the Trail Blazers Kids Club and Y.O.U.th., providing scholarships and holding town halls on financial literacy for young adults through his Be A Light foundation.
Be A Light Inc was founded by Anfernee early in his NBA career after inspiration from his great-grandmother Alpheaus Lightford and the light that she brought to the world. Their mission is to inspire, motivate, and educate disadvantaged or at-risk children and young adults by providing access to mentor services, family support services, continuing education, and career development programs. Anfernee and the Be A Light team use its platform to empower, encourage, lift and support the community in achieving their dreams, being better people and making the community a better place for everyone.
“Anfernee has been a tremendous teammate who has successfully stepped into a leadership role in a big way this season,” said Joe Cronin, Portland Trail Blazers Interim General Manager. “His spirit, demeanor, work ethic and commitment to improving the community make him the ideal recipient of the Maurice Lucas award.”
Simons has enjoyed a breakout season in 2021-22 after injuries forced the guard into the starting lineup on a regular basis in January. He has appeared in 57 games with 30 starts while averaging career-highs of 17.3 points (44.3% FG, 40.5% 3-PT, 88.8 FT%), 3.9 assists and 2.6 rebounds. Since assuming a starting role on January 3, he has averaged 23.4 points (45.6% FG, 42.3% 3-PT, 86.6% FT) with 5.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds. Simons leads Portland in total points (988), three-pointers made (179) and assists (221) for the 2021-22 season. On January 3, at 22 years and 209 days old, he became the youngest player in franchise history to score 40-plus points in a game when he scored a career-high 43 points against Atlanta.
“Anfernee is a perfect recipient of the annual Maurice Lucas award as a humble leader on and off the court,” said Dewayne Hankins, Portland Trail Blazers President of Business Operations. “His many contributions on the court, along with his impact on the Rip City community off the court, embodies the spirit of the Maurice Lucas award and what makes being a Trail Blazer so special.”
“It is with great pride and honor to present the 2022 Maurice Lucas award to Anfernee Simons, a player who has committed himself to playing hard and fearless basketball,” said Pam Lucas, widow of Maurice Lucas. “His focus to be a light for youth through service personifies the character of my husband. His outstanding qualities on and off the court makes Anfernee an ideal recipient of this award.”
Former Trail Blazers All-Star Maurice Lucas passed away on October 31, 2010 at the age of 58. A beloved member of the franchise and the community, "The Enforcer" was a central figure on the Trail Blazers 1976-77 NBA Championship team. The Trail Blazers honored Lucas by retiring his uniform number (No. 20) on November 4, 1988.
Lucas averaged 15.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.72 blocked shots over five seasons (1976-80, 1987-88) as a Trail Blazer. During Portland's 1976-77 NBA Championship season, Lucas led the team in scoring (20.2), field goals made (8.0), free throws made (4.2), offensive rebounds (2.4) and minutes (36.2). Selected to the All-Star Game in three straight seasons from 1977-79, Lucas is one of six three-time All-Stars in Trail Blazers history (Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Clyde Drexler, Brandon Roy, Sidney Wicks). He served as an assistant coach with the Trail Blazers for five seasons from 2005-10, and previously in 1988-89.
MAURICE LUCAS AWARD WINNERS
2021-22 – Anfernee Simons
2020-21 – Enes Kanter
2019-20 – Carmelo Anthony
2018-19 – Jusuf Nurkic
2017-18 – Evan Turner
2016-17 – Al-Farouq Aminu
2015-16 – Ed Davis
2014-15 – LaMarcus Aldridge
2013-14 – Robin Lopez
2012-13 – Damian Lillard
2011-12 – Wesley Matthews
2010-11 – LaMarcus Aldridge