NEW YORK, October 26, 2023 – The NBA today announced Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu as the NBA Cares Bob Lanier Community Assist Award offseason winner for his efforts to uplift and inspire the youth in his hometown of Chicago. At the start of each season, the NBA will recognize one offseason winner and seven monthly winners for their outstanding work in the community. The offseason award winner will receive the Bob Lanier Trophy and the monthly winners will receive the David Robinson Trophy.
Serving the Ayo Dos Foundation’s mission to create safe, accessible spaces for growth and education, Dosunmu spent his offseason working to bridge the gap of access to opportunity engaging more than 1,500 youth in Chicago. As a native of Chicago and now playing for his hometown team, Dosunmu made it his mission to spread a message of hope, determination and possibility to the youth in his community and support their passion, talent and hard work. In May, Dosunmu hosted a youth basketball clinic in partnership with Motorola for 60 youth from Black Kids Predict. Led by Dosunmu and Bulls Youth Hoops coaches, the youth participated in skill stations focused on various fundamental basketball skills, while using technology developed by Black Kids Predict to enhance the experience and showcase the intersection of sports and technology.
In July, Dosunmu hosted his 2nd annual “Ayo’s Block Party” in honor of his childhood friend, Darius Brown, who Dosunmu lost at a young age due to gun violence. Alongside Beyond the Ball and Urban Male Network, Dosunmu hosted a basketball clinic for 120 youth, which is double the youth from the previous year, and celebrated organizations that provide safe places for youth. As part of the block party, youth received basketball skill instruction from Dosunmu and Bulls Youth Hoops coaches, free lunch, equipment donations, and Beyond the Ball and Urban Male Network each received a $5,000 grant donation to support their organization’s mission.
In continuing Dosunmu’s focus around youth and education, he launched an incentive program called “Ayo’s Scholars” at his former elementary school, Beasley Academic Center. To celebrate the launch of the program, Dosunmu hosted a back-to-school pep rally in August for over 1,000 students. The pep rally consisted of contests, chance to win prizes and special appearance from Benny the Bull and Chicago Bulls entertainers. Additionally, Dosunmu committed to give every student that makes the honor roll tickets to a Bulls home game during the 2023-24 season. In September, Dosunmu partnered with Nordstrom and Shoes That Fit to donate Nike sneakers to over 350 students at Philip Randolph Elementary School. He assisted kids with shoe size fitting, took photos with the students and led some energetic students in exercise drills. Dosunmu believes in providing students with a new pair of shoes to begin the school year.
“This recognition means the world to me, not just as a basketball player, but as a proud representative of this incredible city,” said Dosunmu. “Being able to give back to the same city that raised me and made me the man I am today is an unforgettable feeling. I dedicate this award to the youth of Chicago – dream fearlessly and stay focused, and the opportunities will be endless.”
Dosunmu will be surprised at practice by students from Beasley Academic Center as the winner of the Bob Lanier Community Assist Award on Thursday, Oct. 26. He will be recognized on-court during the Bulls’ Nov. 6 game vs the Utah Jazz. Chicago Bulls EVP of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas will present him with the award.
The offseason Bob Lanier NBA Cares Community Assist Award honors Bob Lanier, an NBA League Office executive and NBA Cares Ambassador for more than 30 years. He had an enormous influence on the NBA family and young people globally, traveling the world to teach the values of the game and making a positive impact through his kindness and generosity. The legacy he built will continue to live on through the offseason NBA Cares Bob Lanier Community Assist Award recognition, which honors the next generation of players’ commitment to positively impacting their community throughout the NBA season. To learn more, please visit https://communityassist.nba.com/.
About NBA Cares
NBA Cares is the league's global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA's mission of addressing important social issues. NBA Cares has provided more than 6.5 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 2,195 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in 40 countries and territories. NBA Cares partners with renowned social impact organizations to address important social issues in the areas of education, inclusion, youth and family development, and health & wellness, including: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Vera Institute of Justice, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, UNICEF, Special Olympics, The Jed Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLSEN.