Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley has received the January NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his continued work to improve the lives of Memphis youth through mentorship and community outreach. The league-wide award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities.
Kaiser Permanente and the NBA are honoring Conley for the support and opportunities he provides youth throughout Memphis. In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and National Mentoring Month, Conley participated in a candid discussion and tour at the National Civil Rights Museum with five young men from Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School. Leading them in conversation about the work and legacy of Dr. King, the group shared ideas on ways to bridge community divides and actively address social issues. An active board member of the Grizzlies Foundation, Conley regularly provides guidance to empower young men of color at Grizzlies Prep and has donated more than $200,000 to the organization.
Additionally, he provided monetary and emotional support to the family and friends of Kameren Johnson, a Memphis 9-year-old who lost his life in a bus crash last December. Conley hosted Kameren’s family and his Orange Mound football teammates and coaches at the Grizzlies’ Dec. 26 game, where he gifted customized, game-worn sneakers to Johnson’s mother. He also donated $15,000 for a mental wellness retreat, counseling sessions, a fun arcade night and to assist with the medical bills of Kameren’s teammates who were injured in the crash. This past fall, Conley also held his 10th annual Bowl N’ Bash to benefit the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. He also regularly hosts youth through the Grizzlies’ Tickets for Kids program and is a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ambassador.
“For professional athletes, I think we have a responsibility to utilize our platforms to stand for something bigger than our individual selves and to be the voice and support for those who don’t have one,” said Conley. “I feel young men and women of color need to be provided with equal opportunities no matter what their socioeconomic status may be. Through Grizzlies Prep, I am helping to close the opportunity gap for young men of color in the city of Memphis.”
Before the Grizzlies’ home game against the Chicago Bulls tonight, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier will present the award to Conley during an on court ceremony. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Conley’s behalf to Grizzlies Prep.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente honors the standard set by NBA legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. At the end of the 2018-19 regular season, the season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia. To learn more, visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase tickets to the Grizzlies’ remaining contests may do so now by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Single Game Tickets are available for purchase at the FedExForum Box Office, ticketmaster.com, online at grizzlies.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX. For more information on the Grizzlies, ‘like’ Memphis Grizzlies on Facebook or follow on Twitter (@memgrizz).
About NBA Cares
NBA Cares is the league’s global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA’s mission of addressing important social issues. NBA Cares programs and participants have provided more than 4.7 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 1,250 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world. The NBA also engages more than 26 million youth annually, inspiring play and teaching the values of the game. NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Special Olympics, YMCA of the USA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLSEN.
by Memphis Grizzlies on NBA.com