Russell Westbrook named finalist for Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award
Fan voting to take place from June 8-19; winner to be announced at a virtual presentation
WASHINGTON, DC– The NBA announced today that Wizards guard Russell Westbrook has been named as a finalist for the 2020-21 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.
Chosen by fans and an NBA executive panel, the seasonlong award honors a player’s continued commitment to positively impact his community through sustained efforts and difference-making work over the course of the season. Highlights of Westbrook’s work in the community throughout the season can be seen here.
“Making a positive impact in the community and uplifting those in need is something that I have made a priority throughout my career,” said Westbrook. “I’m honored to be selected as a finalist for the Seasonlong NBA Community Assist Award and look forward to finding new opportunities to inspire the lives of others, empower them to ask ‘Why Not?’ and teach them to never give up.”
Fans can vote for Westbrook via Jebbit, where they can view and select videos highlighting his impact, or on Twitter by using #NBACommunityAssist and @russwest44 or #RussellWestbrook. Retweets are also counted and votes cast on the first and last day (June 8 and June 19) will count twice towards a player’s total. Fan voting for the award will begin today on social media at 12:00 p.m. and conclude on Saturday, June 19, at 11:59 p.m. The winner will be determined by a combination of fan voting and voting by an NBA executive panel and announced at a future virtual presentation.
Westbrook teamed up with LA Promise Fund and launched the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy in his hometown of Los Angeles in February. The middle and high school will create better access to educational and outdoor opportunities for children and the community at large in South L.A, while also preparing them for college and making them “active citizens committed to social change.” Westbrook’s work in Los Angeles also included the ninth-straight year of his foundation partnering with the L.A. Regional Food Bank to distribute Thanksgiving meals to residents of Los Angeles.
In his first season in D.C., Westbrook and his Why Not? Foundation hosted a special Christmas sneaker shoe giveaway for the entire student body at The Children’s Guild District of Columbia Public Charter School, which serves special education and general education students – many whom come from homeless or unstable housing. Westbrook remained committed to the previous stops in his career by assisting the city of Houston following the devastating winter storm in February and producing “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre,” a documentary on the 1921 Tulsa race massacre on Black Wall Street, an event often overlooked and untaught in American history.
Westbrook’s efforts with his Academy and documentary showcased his commitment to providing equal opportunities to higher education for future generations, while also educating the older generations on past inequities faced by Black people and other minorities. Westbrook’s efforts to improve generational wealth in minorities led him to join Varo Bank as a new investor and advisor in February, with the intent of improving income inequalities with programs driven towards minority communities and to improve financial literacy within the Black community. Westbrook also joined Evolution Advisors, LLC as a founding partner and will focus on insurance and financial services within minority and diverse business communities.
Westbrook is looking to become the third Washington player to win the seasonlong award in the last six seasons, following Bradley Beal (2018-19) and John Wall (2015-16). Westbrook won the seasonlong award for the 2014-15 season and the monthly award for the month of October 2014. Monumental Basketball teammate Natasha Cloud took home a similar honor in 2019 with the WNBA’s Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award.
Along with Westbrook, the other nominees for the award are DeAndre’ Bembry (Toronto), Devin Booker (Phoenix), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia), Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee), Damian Lillard (Portland), Patty Mills (San Antonio), Donovan Mitchell (Utah), Larry Nance Jr. (Cleveland) and Josh Richardson (Dallas). The 10 nominees include the offseason winner, six monthly winners and three additional players (including Westbrook) selected by the NBA for their exceptional community work. The winning player will receive $25,000 to their charity of choice, a donation from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente.