NEW YORK – The NBA today announced it will rename the season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award in honor of late Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA Global Ambassador, Bob Lanier, for his dedication to teaching NBA values and making a positive impact on communities across the globe. The first winner of the new Bob Lanier Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente for the 2021-22 season is Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II. Payton was selected by fans during a 12-day public voting period and by an NBA executive panel for his sustained community outreach in support of youth in the Bay Area over the course of the season.
Payton II has prioritized engaging with and giving back to his community, particularly through initiatives related to youth with learning disabilities and those dealing with hardship. This season, he founded the GPII Foundation, a nonprofit that acts as a conduit for Dyslexia-awareness, an educational disability he has dealt with throughout his life. The foundation provides funding for educators to become certified in early intervention services and support for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, including early screening, detection and certified assessment for youth and young adults.
Golden State @warriors Gary Payton II (@Garydwayne) named winner of the 2021-22 Bob Lanier Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente (@kpthrive) for his ongoing support of youth facing hardships & with learning disabilities.
— NBA Cares (@nbacares) May 31, 2022
Payton’s own personal struggle with dyslexia, and his passion and efforts to uplift young people impacted, led to the Warriors expanding their Read to Achieve program to specifically include students with learning disabilities. He also led attended a rally at San Francisco City Hall in support of universal screening for risk of dyslexia via Senate Bill 237 and hosted his first-ever Reading Rally with Decoding Dyslexia for students affected by learning disabilities. Additionally, Payton participated in the Warriors’ Black History Month celebrations and 75th Anniversary Live, Learn or Play Center dedication, among other events. He was awarded the January monthly NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.
Lanier, a League Office executive and NBA Global Ambassador for more than 30 years, 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. An author and humanitarian, Lanier was the recipient of many distinguished awards throughout his lifetime, including the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award for his significant contributions to civil and human rights and the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award as a player. The legacy he built will continue to live on through the season-long Community Assist Award recognition, which honors the next generation of players’ commitment to positively impacting their community throughout the NBA season.
Man of the people!@Garydwayne has been named the winner of the NBA’s 2021-22 Bob Lanier Community Assist Award for his outstanding work with Bay Area youth throughout the season 👏 pic.twitter.com/RlVbRxqGfp
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 31, 2022
The Warriors and the NBA will recognize Payton during the NBA Finals 2022 presented by YouTube TV. The GPII Foundation will receive a $75,000 contribution from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.
To learn more about the NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente, please visit here.