NEW YORK, April 21, 2014 – Oklahoma City Thunder power forward/center Serge Ibaka received the April Kia Community Assist Award in recognition of his charitable contributions and generosity in his home country of Republic of the Congo, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.
Ibaka remains deeply committed to giving back to his home country. He has pledged $315,000 to the “UNICEF Gets Boys and Girls in the Game” project for the renovation and expansion of two orphanages in Brazzaville, Congo. In order to assist the girls who struggle to find employment upon leaving the orphanage, Ibaka will fund an onsite bakery to teach them a trade and business skills. He also worked with the Thunder to host a US Fund for UNICEF night where volunteers organized a donation, raffle and auction table at a home game in April. Ibaka met with each auction and raffle winner, and utilized social media to encourage online donations. Additionally, he will donate $500 to the cause for every blocked shot he records during the 2014 NBA Playoffs. Earlier this year, Ibaka participated in WildAid’s “No Hype” campaign to raise awareness about the problems of the ivory trade and poaching.
“It was my dream when I was young to help those orphanages,” said Ibaka. “My mom died when I was seven and I know how hard it is for those kids in the street, how they live, what they need, so that is why I want to work with UNICEF to do the best I can to help them.”
During an upcoming playoff game, an NBA Cares Ambassador will present Ibaka with the David Robinson Plaque during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, Kia and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Ibaka’s behalf to the US Fund for UNICEF.
Ibaka’s win marks the end of the monthly awards, and the beginning of fan voting for the 2013-14 Seasonlong Kia Community Assist Award. Along with an NBA panel of judges, fans can vote for their favorite nominee through May 5 via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #KiaCommunityAssist and the nominee’s first and last name. The seasonlong nominees include past monthly winners Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, George Hill, Dwight Howard, Serge Ibaka, Zach Randolph, and Rajon Rondo, and three additional nominees, DeMar DeRozan, Damian Lillard and Chris Paul, who have all made standout contributions to their communities. Kia and the NBA will donate $25,000 to the winner’s charity of choice. Fans can find additional details at www.nba.com/kiacommunityassist.
Kia Motors has been an NBA Cares partner since 2010.