Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard wins 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

NEW YORK – Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has won the 2018-19 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.

Lillard was one of five finalists for the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, along with Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

The finalists were chosen by a committee of 25 PBWA members from a list of 27 nominees submitted by NBA teams.  The winner was determined by a vote of the entire PBWA, which is composed of more than 200 writers and editors who cover the NBA regularly for newspapers, magazines and online news outlets.

A seven-year NBA veteran, Lillard is being honored for supporting and inspiring high school students in Portland through his RESPECT program, which encourages youth to Show Up, Work Hard and Be Kind.  Lillard, who has spent his entire career with the Trail Blazers since being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, started the anti-bullying platform in 2013 after meeting with Portland school administrators to identify schools that most needed a more positive culture among students.

Lillard has partnered with three Portland high schools – Madison, Parkrose and Roosevelt – to reinforce the value of education and celebrate student achievement.  He has participated in school assemblies and class discussions and has empowered teachers and counselors to reward respectful, diligent students with tickets to Trail Blazers games, RESPECT merchandise and special events with Lillard such as a private tour of the team’s practice facility.  The schools have reported significant progress resulting from Lillard’s commitment, including improvements in student behavior, engagement, attendance and tardiness.

“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.”

In addition to his efforts to drive generational change with Portland students, Lillard has served as a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics since 2013.  In February, he was an honorary coach at the eighth annual NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Game at NBA All-Star 2019 in Charlotte.

Lillard, who turns 29 in July, averaged 25.8 points, a career-high 6.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 80 games this season.  He earned his fourth NBA All-Star selection and was named to the 2018-19 All-NBA Second Team.  The 6-3 guard helped Portland reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time since the 1999-00 season.

Lillard will receive his J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award trophy during a ceremony prior to a 2019-20 regular-season game in Portland.

Below is the complete list of winners of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.



Season Winner, Team Season Winner, Team
1974-75 Wes Unseld, Washington 1996-97 P.J. Brown, Miami
1975-76 Slick Watts, Seattle 1997-98 Steve Smith, Atlanta
1976-77 Dave Bing, Washington 1998-99 Brian Grant, Portland
1977-78 Bob Lanier, Detroit 1999-00 Vlade Divac, Sacramento
1978-79 Calvin Murphy, Houston 2000-01 Dikembe Mutombo, Philadelphia
1979-80 Austin Carr, Cleveland 2001-02 Alonzo Mourning, Miami
1980-81 Mike Glenn, New York 2002-03 David Robinson, San Antonio
1981-82 Kent Benson, Detroit 2003-04 Reggie Miller, Indiana
1982-83 Julius Erving, Philadelphia 2004-05 Eric Snow, Cleveland
1983-84 Frank Layden, Utah 2005-06 Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
1984-85 Dan Issel, Denver 2006-07 Steve Nash, Phoenix
1985-86 Michael Cooper, L.A. Lakers
Rory Sparrow, New York
Chauncey Billups, Detroit

Dikembe Mutombo, Houston

1986-87 Isiah Thomas, Detroit 2009-10 Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia
1987-88 Alex English, Denver 2010-11 Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers
1988-89 Thurl Bailey, Utah 2011-12 Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers
1989-90 Doc Rivers, Atlanta 2012-13 Kenneth Faried, Denver
1990-91 Kevin Johnson, Phoenix 2013-14 Luol Deng, Cleveland
1991-92 Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers 2014-15 Joakim Noah, Chicago
1992-93 Terry Porter, Portland 2015-16 Wayne Ellington, Brooklyn
1993-94 Joe Dumars, Detroit 2016-17 LeBron James, Cleveland
1994-95 Joe O’Toole, Atlanta 2017-18 J.J. Barea, Dallas
1995-96 Chris Dudley, Portland 2018-19 Damian Lillard, Portland