Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has received the November NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his efforts to support the education of high school students in Portland, the NBA announced today. The 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 Lillard for his efforts to improve attendance and graduation rates across Portland through his RESPECT program. Lillard makes continuous visits to Madison, Parkrose and Roosevelt High Schools throughout the year – hosting holiday and end-of-year parties, participating in conversations with staff and donating tickets and merchandise – to encourage students to value their education, and to celebrate their achievements. As a result, Parkrose and Madison High Schools have seen great improvements in student behavior, engagement, tardiness and attendance, and Roosevelt High School achieved its highest graduation rate of the past decade.
Lillard began the RESPECT program six years ago, when he met with Portland high school administrators to identify schools that most needed a more positive culture among students. Through these conversations, he created a platform to encourage students to “Show Up: demonstrating respect for their parents and teachers; Work Hard: demonstrating respect for themselves and their futures; and Be Kind: demonstrating respect for others.”
“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,” said Lillard. “I’m so proud to see that the program is succeeding in these high schools and that the students are excited to participate.”
Before the Trail Blazers’ home game against the Golden State Warriors tomorrow (10 p.m. ET, NBA TV), NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier will present the award to Lillard during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Lillard’s behalf to Madison, Parkrose and Roosevelt High Schools in Portland.
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 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia. To learn more, please visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.