The Professional Basketball Writers Association announced today that Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has been chosen as one of five finalists for the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.
The honor, named after the NBA’s second commissioner, is presented annually by the PBWA to a player, coach or athletic trainer who demonstrates outstanding service and dedication to the community. The other finalists joining Booker are Charlotte’s Bismack Biyombo, Memphis’ Mike Conley, Golden State’s Steve Kerr and Portland’s Damian Lillard. The J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award has been given since the 1974-75 season and previous Suns to win are Steve Nash in 2006-07 and Kevin Johnson in 1990-91.
This past year, during Phoenix Suns Charities’ annual Jump Ball Gala, Booker announced he would be donating $2.5 million over the next five years to create the “Devin Booker Starting Five” initiative in a generous act of his commitment to impacting the lives of Arizona families. Over the duration of his contract, Booker will donate $500,000 per year to Phoenix Suns Charities to create the initiative in which five deserving local nonprofit organizations will be granted $100,000 each to continue improve the lives of youth and families in need throughout Arizona.
In addition to understanding the effect of large financial contributions to worthy nonprofit organizations, Booker is passionate about spending time with children and families in need, and understands the profound impact of these personal interactions. This past season, Booker made a surprise visit to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, visiting sick patients’ bedsides and spending time in the hospital’s play area, playing games and taking photos with young patients and their families. Booker also partnered with Child Crisis Arizona, an organization that works with foster children and newly adopted youth, to give 15 kids a surprise holiday shopping spree.
All 30 NBA teams made nominations for the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award and the five finalists were determined by a committee of 25 PBWA members who reviewed the teams’ nominations and conducted a vote. The winner will be determined through a vote of the PBWA’s full membership.