The video also helped Noah win the NBA’s Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award – given to “player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community” – over finalists Tobias Harris, Greg Monroe, Chris Paul and Zach Randolph.
Noah, a two-time All-Star center who has spent his entire eight-year career with the Bulls, has dedicated himself to helping children develop a stronger sense of self through his Noah’s Arc Foundation (NAF). The foundation recently launched the “Rock Your Drop: The Drop of Consciousness” anti-violence initiative, which supports those affected by violence and encourages youth to express themselves through creative outlets like sports and art.
NAF also produced the “You’re Not Alone” anti-violence video featuring first-hand stories from those who have lost loved ones to violence, including Noah’s teammates Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed and Derrick Rose. Last summer, in his ongoing efforts to raise awareness of gun violence and promote unity in Chicago, Noah and NAF debuted the #ChicagoStandUp public service announcement and hosted a basketball tournament that brought together young men from the south and west sides of the city.
“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.”
Did Noah do more in the community than anyone else in the NBA? Tough to judge from the outside. The Professional Basketball Writers of America (which voted on the award) deemed him No. 1, at least. The Bulls big man seems as worthy as anyone.
Mostly, I’m encouraged by Robbins saying this might be the deepest pool of candidates in the award’s history. It seems NBA players have become increasingly involved in their communities, and that’s definitely a good thing.