Mar. 18, 2015 – Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has received the February NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his outstanding efforts to empower youth and take a stand against violence, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities.
Kaiser Permanente and the NBA are honoring Noah for his commitment to improving the lives of local youth and combatting violence throughout Chicago. Noah has dedicated himself to helping children develop a stronger sense of self through his Noah’s Arc Foundation (NAF), which recently launched the “Rock Your Drop: The Drop of Consciousness” anti-violence initiative. The Drop Movement supports those impacted by violence and encourages youth to express themselves through creative outlets like sports and art.
“I’m really proud,” said Noah shortly after he was announced as the award’s recipient. “A lot of people have worked really hard for this award and it’s obviously not for the award—but if it brings awareness to what we’re doing, I’m all for it.
“I think that when you’re an athlete, especially in a city like Chicago, you have a platform,” Noah added. “I think it’s really important to use it. My father did it when he was an athlete and I’m definitely inspired by the work he did over there in France.
“Ever since my dream of becoming an NBA player, this was always part of it—having a foundation and doing positive work,” Noah continued. “I think Chicago is a place that really needs it. It needs as many after school programs as possible and that’s why I’m so proud of Rock Your Drop. It’s a symbol for giving back to the neighborhood and everybody can be a part of it.”
Noah’s foundation also produced the “You’re Not Alone” anti-violence video featuring first-hand stories from those who have lost loved ones to violence, including Noah’s teammates Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammed. Last summer, in his continued effort to bring awareness to gun violence in Chicago, Noah and NAF debuted the #ChicagoStandUp PSA and hosted an inner-city basketball tournament bringing together young men from the south and west sides of Chicago.
Noah’s youth outreach continued through the Bulls’ Violence Prevention Night, Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) initiative, and organizations like Make-A-Wish and Bear Necessities, signing autographs, donating game tickets and spending quality time with children in need. Noah also supported the NBA, NBPA and NBRPA’s five-year commitment to The White House’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative by participating in the "My Brother’s Keeper” PSA this season.
“I want to make a powerful impact, because helping people is very important to me,” said Noah. “When I'm on the court, this is what gives me strength. The work I’ve done thus far is only the beginning.”
During tonight’s home game against the Indiana Pacers, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier, Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf and a Kaiser Permanente representative will present Noah with the David Robinson Plaque during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Noah’s behalf to the Youth Guidance, Becoming a Man (B.A.M.) Program.