NEW YORK, June 12 -- The NBA announced that the San Antonio Spurs' Steve Smith is the winner of the 2001-02 NBA Sportsmanship Award, which honors a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.

This is the second straight season and the third time overall a member of the San Antonio Spurs has earned the NBA's Sportsmanship Award since it was introduced in 1995-96. David Robinson won the award last season and Avery Johnson won the award in 1997-98.

"This award is truly an honor since there are so many great competitors in the NBA," said Smith. "I'm fortunate to be part of a great team and this award is a wonderful example of our commitment to one another and our dedication to teamwork on and off the court."

Steve Smith led the NBA in three-point percentage in 2001-02, hitting 47 percent of his attempts from long range.
Nathaniel S. Butler
NBAE/Getty Images
Smith was presented with the Joe Dumars Trophy on Wednesday by NBA Commissioner David Stern at a news conference at the NBA Store in New York City. Smith has asked that the $25,000 bonus be donated to Reading is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), the nation's largest children's and family literacy organization that develops and delivers literacy programs to help prepare young children for reading and motivate school-age children to read regularly.

Smith received 65 of 126 votes from a panel consisting of 39 national media members and three media members who cover the NBA regularly from each of the league's 29 teams. Former NBA players Tommy Heinsohn, Eddie Johnson, Gil McGregor, Ed Pinckney and Kenny Smith selected the four divisional winners from a pool of 29 team nominees. Each team nominated one of its players for the award.

The Hornets' P.J. Brown was the Central Division nominee and finished second with 28 votes. LaPhonso Ellis of the Miami Heat was the Atlantic Division nominee and finished third with 22 votes while Shawn Marion of the Phoenix Suns, the Pacific Division nominee, received 11 votes. Smith was chosen from the Midwest Division.

On behalf of Brown, Ellis and Marion, the NBA will donate $10,000 to the P.J. and Dee Brown Foundation, East St. Louis High School and the Christian Worship Center in East St. Louis (Ellis' hometown), and the Phoenix Suns Charities.

The annual award is part of a larger program, the NBA Sportsmanship Initiative, which also includes the WNBA and the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) and focuses on fostering the ideals of sportsmanship -- ethical behavior, fair play, and integrity -- in amateur and professional basketball players.

The NBA's Sportsmanship Trophy is named after former Detroit Pistons great Joe Dumars, who played 14 seasons in the NBA and was the inaugural recipient of the NBA Sportsmanship Award in November 1996. The six-time All-Star was selected in honor of his distinguished career and for symbolizing the tradition the NBA recognizes with this award.

Previous award winners include Terrell Brandon, then with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the award for the 1996-97 season, Avery Johnson (1997-98 then with San Antonio), Hersey Hawkins (1998-99 when he played for Seattle), Philadelphia's Eric Snow (1999-2000) and San Antonio's David Robinson (2000-01).

Inaugural: Joe Dumars, Detroit
1996-97: Terrell Brandon, Cleveland
1997-98: Avery Johnson, San Antonio
1998-99: Hersey Hawkins, Seattle
1999-2000: Eric Snow, Philadelphia
2000-01: David Robinson, San Antonio
2001-02: Steve Smith, San Antonio