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Ben Gordon a Finalist for the NBA's Kennedy Award
by Sam Smith
Posted on Apr 1
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Bulls guard Ben Gordon is one of five finalists for the NBA’s 2009 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award.
The award is presented annually by the NBA to a player, coach or trainer for outstanding community commitment and service. It is the only official NBA award in its post season selections voted exclusively by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.
The award is named for the NBA’s second commissioner and first publicity director who oversaw the league’s expansion from nine to 23 teams during his tenure from 1963 to 1975. Kennedy was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.
Past winners have included Julius Erving, Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett, Reggie Miller, Isiah Thomas, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier, Magic Johnson, Steve Nash, Doc Rivers and Joe Dumars.
“It’s truly an honor to be mentioned as a finalist for such a prestigious award as the Kennedy Citizenship award,” Gordon wrote in an email message. “I am grateful.”
The winner will be announced after the regular season in the rotation of annual NBA awards that leads to the naming of the Most Valuable Player.
The other finalists for the 2008-09 season are Bruce Bowen of the San Antonio Spurs, Devin Harris of the New Jersey Nets, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and Dikembe Mutombo of the Houston Rockets, who previously won the award when he was with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2000-01.
Gordon founded the Ben Gordon New Life Foundation, which is a youth self esteem program in New York and Chicago. Gordon has made substantial donations to the Mt. Vernon, N.Y. Boys and Girls Club and Juvenile Diabetes. He hosts Ben Gordon weekend in his Mt. Vernon, N.Y. hometown to raise funds for local athletic programs. Gordon serves as the athlete ambassador for the United Negro College Fund education program and has underwritten the cost of holiday parties for DCFS families in the Chicago area and personally serves meals and presents children with gifts. Gordon also is actively involved in holiday activities for children and seniors in CHA facilities.