Damian Lillard named the winner of the NBA’s prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Award

Dwight Jaynes
NBC Sports Northwest

Damian Lillard named the winner of the NBAs prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Award originally appeared on nbcsportsnorthwest.com

Damian Lillard has been named the winner of the NBA's prestigious J. Walter Kennedy Award, given annually to an NBA player, coach or staff member who has shown "outstanding service and dedication to the community."

The award is selected by the Pro Basketball Writers Association and named after the second commissioner of the league.

The other finalists for this year's award were Bismack Biyombo, Devin Booker, Mike Conley and Steve Kerr.

Lillard's contributions to the community are well known.

His "Respect" program is in its sixth year and its second year of focus on specific high schools, in order to have a more significant impact. Those schools were Madison, Parkrose and Roosevelt. Lillard funds the entire program himself with no help from corporate partners. The program encourages students to attend class and become more involved in school activities.

"My goal with the Respect program is to provide support and have a positive impact with the students so they can go on to better themselves," Lillard has said. "I'm so proud to see that the program is having success within the high schools and that the students are excited to participate."

He is an ambassador for the Moda Assist program that funds playgrounds, he has been a part of the Make A Wish program and he is a global ambassador for Special Olympics.

Previous winners of this award include 17 Hall of Fame players and current stars LeBron James and Pau Gasol.

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