TTX Sports >Football World >Pelicans' CJ McCollum wins 2023-24 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

Pelicans' CJ McCollum wins 2023-24 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award


New Orleans’ CJ McCollum is the J. Walker Kennedy Citizenship Award winner for the 2023-24 season.

C.J. McCollum of the New Orleans Pelicans has won the 2023-24 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, as administered and selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). Named after the NBA’s second commissioner, the honor is presented annually by the PBWA to a player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.

An 11-year veteran, McCollum is being honored for his extensive community work in and around New Orleans, with a focus on education, social-justice reform and efforts to provide equitable resources and opportunities for youth.

McCollum, 32, was one of five finalists for the award, along with Miami Heat assistant coach Caron Butler, Washington Wizards forward Anthony Gill, Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr.

The finalists were chosen by a committee of PBWA members from nominees submitted by NBA teams. The winner was determined by a vote of the entire PBWA, which is composed of more than 200writers and editors who cover the NBA regularly for newspapers, magazines and online news outlets.

“C.J.’s passion, generosity and commitment to improving the lives of the youth in his community is truly impressive,” said PBWA President Howard Beck, of The Ringer. “The members of the Professional Basketball Writers Association salute him and all the nominees for their inspiring work.”

In January, McCollum partnered with the nonprofit CollegeBeyond to launch McCollum Scholars, a needs-based scholarship that will provide eleven New Orleans students with $100,000 apiece (a total commitment of $1.1 million) to pursue four-year degrees. As part of the initiative, McCollum Scholars will also be offered academic coaching services, mental-wellness resources, career preparation and internship placement. The program aims to close the education, literacy and racial wealth gaps through access to quality education, and to create a pathway to obtaining a post-secondary degree.

In March, McCollum opened the CJ McCollum Dream Center –described as “a dynamic hub of innovation and inspiration” – at the Westbank Boys and Girls Club of Metro Louisiana. The center is stocked with new laptops and tablets, smart boards, laser printers, a library, virtual reality headsets and a podcast studio. It’s the thirdDream Center that McCollum has opened, and the first in Louisiana, where he has resided since joining the Pelicans in February 2022. He has described the centers as a beacon of hope and a safe haven, where youth can explore, learn and grow.

Last October – in collaboration with the Louisiana Center forChildren’s Rights and the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition – McCollum visited the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center and Travis Hill School in New Orleans, which is dedicated to rehabilitation and education in the justice system. As part of his visit McCollum spent time with the students, aged 13 to 18, and discussed his own journey, emphasizing the importance of education and resilience.

McCollum, who also serves as president of the National Basketball Players Association, averaged 20 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.6assists in 66 games for the Pelicans this season.

Below is the complete list of winners of the J. Walter KennedyCitizenship Award.

SeasonPlayerTeam1974-75Wes UnseldWashington 1975-76Slick WattsSeattle1976-77Dave BingWashington1977-78Bob LanierDetroit1978-79Calvin MurphyHouston1979-80Austin CarrCleveland1980-81Mike GlennNew York1981-82Kent BensonDetroit1982-83Julius ErvingPhiladelphia 1983-84Frank Layden Utah1984-85Dan Issel Denver 1985-86Michael Cooper (tie)L.A. Lakers1985-86Rory Sparrow (tie)New York1986-87Isiah ThomasDetroit1987-88Alex EnglishDenver1988-89Thurl BaileyUtah1989-90Doc RiversAtlanta1990-91Kevin JohnsonPhoenix1991-92Magic Johnson L.A. Lakers1992-93Terry Porter Portland1993-94Joe DumarsDetroit 1994-95Joe O’Toole Atlanta1995-96Chris Dudley Portland1996-97P.J. BrownMiami1997-98Steve SmithAtlanta1998-99Brian GrantPortland1999-00Vlade Divac Sacramento2000-01Dikembe Mutombo Philadelphia2001-02Alonzo MourningMiami 2002-03David RobinsonSan Antonio 2003-04Reggie MillerIndiana2004-05Eric Snow Cleveland2005-06Kevin GarnettMinnesota 2006-07Steve Nash Phoenix2007-08Chauncey BillupsDetroit 2008-09Dikembe MutomboHouston 2009-10Samuel Dalembert Philadelphia2010-11Metta Sandiford-ArtestL.A. Lakers 2011-12Pau Gasol L.A. Lakers2012-13Kenneth FariedDenver2013-14Luol Deng Cleveland2014-15Joakim Noah Chicago2015-16Wayne Ellington Brooklyn2016-17LeBron JamesCleveland 2017-18J.J. BareaDallas 2018-19Damian LillardPortland 2019-20Malcolm Brogdon Indiana2020-21NA – Pandemic – 2021-22NA – Pandemic – 2022-23Stephen CurryGolden State 2023-24C.J. McCollum New Orleans

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