Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore has been awarded the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his community involvement and charity work in Sacramento; Lawrence, Kansas; and Wellston, Missouri (Wellston is his hometown and he went college at the University of Kansas.).
According to the NBA, the award honors a "player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities." McLemore, who is now in his second NBA season, helped establish the "All 4 Kids" nonprofit organization. In December, the organization provided a holiday feast and presents for more than 150 homeless children at the Lawrence Community Shelter in Kansas. McLemore also distributed 200 presents and provided dinner at an All 4 Kids Christmas party at the St. Louis Transitional Hope House.
And in Sacramento, McLemore surprised 10 children two weeks before Christmas with a shopping spree at Wal-Mart.
McLemore, who is currently averaging 11.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, plans to continue to do charity work in all of these cities, or "his cities" as he refers to them, but has a goal of reaching out at the national and international levels.
"When I was growing up, my family didn't have much, so it's always been extremely important for me to give back and help wherever I can," said McLemore in a team press release. "To have the opportunity to be a role model for young kids is an honor that I take very seriously, and I'm just blessed to be in this position to help."
As part of the award, the NBA will donate $10,000 in McLemore's name to WIND Youth Services, a Sacramento organization that provides homeless youth safety from the streets and access to resources to help them move from crisis to healthy functioning and independence.
This is the first time a player as a member of the Kings has received the award since Chris Webber did in the 2002-03 season.
McLemore is currently looking into bringing his off-season charitable event, the Sir McLemore Summer Slam, to Sacramento this summer. He debuted it in Lawrence last summer and it was received well.
The Kings will recognize McLemore during halftime of Friday's game against the Miami Heat.
Nice job Ben.