Nuggets honor Black History Month: Acknowledging Chauncey Billups’ Denver ties

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

Chauncey Billups received several nicknames throughout his illustrious NBA career. Most NBA fans remember him as “Mr. Big Shot” but for Denver Nuggets fans and perhaps Billups himself, his “King of Park Hill” designation is even more significant.

A Denver native who attended George Washington High School (where he led his team to two Colorado state championships and was named Colorado’s Mr. Basketball following his sophomore season) before spending two years at the University of Colorado Boulder, Billups provided plenty of highlights for Nuggets fans during his five seasons in the Mile High City.

Fans no doubt remember Billups’ crucial impact in Denver’s run to the Western Conference Finals in 2009, but the five-time NBA All-Star’s contributions in Denver go way beyond the court.

Billups placed an emphasis on giving back to the community, which also happened to be his own community. Through the Chauncey Billups Foundation and the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy at Regis University, Billups has provided more than wins and highlights on the court to the Denver area.

In 2009, Billups established his foundation to raise money for programs aimed at low-income families.  It is also through that foundation Billups also sponsors events, which in the past included a dinner for 40 homeless families at the Pepsi Center.

Another area of Billups’ reach in the community is through the aforementioned Leadership Academy at Regis University. Created by Lonnie Porter in 1996, Billups joined forces with Porter in 2006 to help provide academic and leadership training to at-risk inner-city students from Denver.

Billups initially pledged $100,000 to the PBLA and continues to be involved with the program, which provides scholarships to those who continue to meet the PBLA criteria and are accepted for admission to Regis University. Since its inception in 1996, 190 students have graduated from the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy after having attended the Academy for at least 7 years, while the Academy has helped build a 99.5% on time high school graduation rate.

It must also be noted that Billups’ efforts to give back to the community around him aren’t tied just to Denver. While in Detroit, Billups affiliated himself with The Children’s Center, a charity that has helped enrich the lives of Detroit area youth. Billups also distributed food to underprivileged families during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2007 and assisted NBA Commissioner David Stern and other Detroit city dignitaries in the unveiling of the Pistons’ sixth Reading and Learning Center at Grant Middle School in Detroit.

One thing is clear, the King Of Park Hill has done much more for the communities around him then provide on-court highlights and clutch baskets.

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