Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has received the May NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his continued commitment to support youth and families throughout the greater Phoenix area, the NBA today announced. Each month the award recognizes a player who best reflects the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
In May, Booker surprised five local nonprofit organizations at a Suns home game where he announced via an in-game, pre-recorded address that they were the 2020-21 class of the Devin Booker Starting Five initiative. Arizona Autism United, Central Arizona Shelter Services, YMCA of Southern Arizona, GAP Ministries and Elevate Phoenix each received a $100,000 grant from Booker to help address critical funding needs following the pandemic and support their respective efforts to improve the lives of local youth and families. To further celebrate and benefit the 2020-21 class, Booker and Phoenix Suns Charities created a limited-edition Devin Booker Starting Five hoodie commemorating the selected nonprofits. Designed by Booker, the first-of-their-kind hoodies were available for purchase for a limited time with all proceeds benefiting Phoenix Suns Charities.
The five organizations are the second class of the Devin Booker Starting Five, which donates $500,000 annually to five different youth-serving nonprofits in Arizona, a total of $2.5 million over the course of five years. The first class — Special Olympics Arizona, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, UMOM New Day Centers and Ability 360— received their $100,000 grants in late 2019. In addition to his Starting Five initiative, Booker has provided significant support to youth and families across the Valley through COVID-19 relief and holiday shopping sprees. He is also a Special Olympics Global Ambassador, actively promoting inclusion through sport.
“From the beginning of my career, it has been important for me to be involved with the Suns organization and the community in Phoenix,” said Booker. “All five of these organizations better the lives of the youth by giving them opportunities they need to succeed. I want to thank the organizations for allowing me the opportunity to help advance all of the work they’re doing in our community.”
In honor of Booker’s efforts, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on his behalf to Special Olympics of Arizona to support the basketball team representing Arizona at the 2022 USA Games.
On June 8, the NBA will tip off voting for the 2020-21 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente, an annual honor for a player who has demonstrated a continued commitment to their community over the course of the season. The seasonlong winner will be selected from a group of 10 candidates – the off-season award winner, six monthly winners and three additional identified players – and determined by an NBA executive panel and fan vote. This season, fans will be able to vote using Twitter and Jebbit, a mobile platform specializing in data collection, for a period of 12 days from Tuesday, June 8 through Saturday, June 19. Additional details regarding the nominees and voting process will be announced in the coming days. To learn more about the NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente, please visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.