Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been named the winner of the PBWA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.
Named after the NBA's second commissioner, the award, voted on by the Professional Basketball Writers Association is presented to a player, coach, or trainer who "shows outstanding service and dedication to the community."
Noah, 30, a two-time All-Star, has been heavily involved working with children in Chicago for his Noah's Arc Foundation. This season, Noah spearheaded the 'Rock Your Drop' initiative, supporting those affected by violence and encouraging kids toward creative outlets, using a necklace designed by his mother, Cecilia Rodhe as a symbol for accepting the message and working toward change.
“Joakim’s initiatives to slow the violence in Chicago should inspire us all to help in our communities,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “His creative, sustained efforts stood out in perhaps the deepest pool of worthy candidates in the 41-year history of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.”
Noah and his foundation also held a basketball tournament bringing together the city's South and West Sides, and helped launch the #ChicagoStandUp anti-violence movement.
In collaboration with filmmaker Alex Kotlowitz and Bulls teammates Derrick Rose, Nazr Mohammed and Taj Gibson, Noah produced a short featuring first-hand stories of losing loved ones to violence, entitled "You're Not Alone." You can watch the video below.
The other finalists for the award were forward Tobias Harris of the Orlando Magic, forward Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons, guard Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and forward Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- Jeremy Woo