NEW YORK – The NBA today announced Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne as the NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner for the month of December in recognition of his commitments to philanthropy during NBA Cares Season of Giving and mentorship for youth. Each month of the regular season the award recognizes a player who best demonstrates the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
Payne has focused much of his community engagement around mentoring and often speaks about how much his mentors helped him growing up throughout his journey to the NBA. In addition to mentoring, Payne is passionate about helping families during the holidays and giving back to his hometown of Memphis. During Season of Giving, Payne adopted 15 families for Christmas as part of his second annual ‘Cam Payne’s 15 families of Christmas’ initiative where he provided gifts and fulfilled the wish lists of 15 families from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona. Payne invited the families to have Christmas dinner followed by gift-giving at the Footprint Center. Payne concluded the evening by providing a $250 gift card to Fry’s Food Stores for each family, and spent time taking photos and signing autographs. Also, during the holiday season, Payne participated in ‘Christmas Shopping with the Suns’, when 20 kids from Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation and Solano’s No Limit Hoops took a shopping spree with Phoenix Suns players at a local Target. In his hometown of Memphis, Payne donated $10,000 to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital on Dec. 26.
In November, Payne hosted a Thanksgiving celebration for 50 mentors and mentees from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona to encourage youth mentorship and recruit more mentors of color. Mentors and mentees were invited to Footprint Center for Thanksgiving dinner and dessert, served by Payne and his family, and an evening of fun games, including pop-a-shot, arcade games and NBA 2K on the arena’s videoboard.
“I have so much gratitude for the communities that have done so much for me and am trying my best to do whatever I can to give back. I’m thankful to the NBA for this recognition and to Phoenix Suns Charities for all the work they do,” said Payne. “We’re not going to stop here; my hope is to continue to uplift these kids and to inspire the Valley to get involved themselves.”
Payne will be recognized during an on-court ceremony before the Suns’ home contest against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 10 p.m. ET. Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager James Jones and Executive Director of Phoenix Suns Charities and Vice President of Social Responsibility Sarah Krahenbuhl will present him with the award. The NBA will donate $10,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. To learn more, please visit https://communityassist.nba.com/.
About NBA Cares
NBA Cares is the league’s global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA’s mission of addressing important social issues. NBA Cares programs and participants have provided more than 6.2 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 2,040 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world. Internationally, NBA Cares has created more than 375 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in 40 countries and territories. NBA Cares works with nationally and internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Vera Institute of Justice, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, UNICEF, Special Olympics, The Jed Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLSEN.