Damian Lillard Named 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award Winner

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

CORRECTS BYLINE IN SIGNOFF TO JOHN LEYBA NOT DAVID ZALUBOWSKI Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard celebrates after the second half of Game 7 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Sunday, May 12, 2019, in Denver. The Trail Blazers won 100-96. (AP Photo/John Leyba)
John Leyba/Associated Press

The Professional Basketball Writers Association named Damian Lillard the recipient of the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award on Wednesday. 

The award is given annually to "a player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community."

"Damian Lillard's sustained commitment to inspire young people in Portland is inspiring," said PBWA president Josh Robbins of The Athletic. "PBWA members honor him and commend his fellow finalists and nominees for their laudatory work."

Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr were also finalists for the honor.

Lillard joins Terry Porter (1992-93), Chris Dudley (1995-96) and Brian Grant (1998-99) as Blazers who have taken home the Kennedy Award.

The All-Star was selected because of his work with his RESPECT program, which has partnered with three high schools in the Portland area to "reinforce the value of education and celebrate student achievement." He has visited the schools to reinforce RESPECT's mantra, which is "Show Up, Work Hard and Be Kind." Each of the schools have demonstrated an improvement in faculty-student relations since working with RESPECT.

Lillard has also been a global ambassador for the Special Olympics since 2013.