NEW YORK – The NBA today announced it will rename the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award in honor of late Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA Global Ambassador, Bob Lanier, for his dedication to teaching NBA values and making a positive impact on communities across the globe. The first winner of the new Bob Lanier Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente for the 2021-22 season is Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II. Payton was selected by fans during a 12-day public voting period and by an NBA executive panel for his sustained community outreach in support of youth in the Bay Area over the course of the season.
Payton II has prioritized engaging with and giving back to his community, particularly through initiatives related to youth with learning disabilities and those dealing with hardship. This season, he founded the GPII Foundation, a nonprofit that acts as a conduit for Dyslexia-awareness, an educational disability he has dealt with throughout his life. The foundation provides funding for educators to become certified in early intervention services and support for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, including early screening, detection and certified assessment for youth and young adults.
Payton’s own personal struggle with dyslexia, and his passion and efforts to uplift young people impacted, led to the Warriors expanding their Read to Achieve program to specifically include students with learning disabilities. He also led attended a rally at San Francisco City Hall in support of universal screening for risk of dyslexia via Senate Bill 237 and hosted his first-ever Reading Rally with Decoding Dyslexia for students affected by learning disabilities. Additionally, Payton participated in the Warriors’ Black History Month celebrations and 75th Anniversary Live, Learn or Play Center dedication, among other events. He was awarded the January monthly NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.
Lanier, a League Office executive and NBA Global Ambassador for more than 30 years, had an enormous influence on the NBA family and young people globally, traveling the world to teach the values of the game and making a positive impact through his kindness and generosity. An author and humanitarian, Lanier was the recipient of many distinguished awards throughout his lifetime, including the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award for his significant contributions to civil and human rights and the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award as a player. The legacy he built will continue to live on through the seasonlong Community Assist Award recognition, which honors the next generation of players’ commitment to positively impacting their community throughout the NBA season.
The Warriors and the NBA will recognize Payton during the NBA Finals 2022 presented by YouTube TV. The GPII Foundation will receive a $75,000 contribution from the NBA and Kaiser Permanente in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.
To learn more about the NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente, please visit https://communityassist.nba.com/.
About Bob Lanier
Bob Lanier was a legend both on and off the court. An eight-time NBA All-Star and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Lanier routinely visited with students and delivered motivational messages on education, youth and family development and health. Lanier served as an Ambassador for the NBA Cares program, the league’s global social responsibility initiative.
Lanier played nine seasons with the Detroit Pistons before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1979-80 season. In Lanier’s 14 years in the NBA, he was one of the league’s most prolific scorers, with more than 19,000 career points; was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1971; and earned the 1974 All-Star MVP award.
Lanier was the recipient of many distinguished awards. In 2007, Lanier received the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award for his significant contributions to civil and human rights internationally in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In June 2000, Lanier was the recipient of the Horizon Award – presented annually by the Joint Leadership Commission of the United States Congress and the Board of Directors of The Congressional Award Foundation – to individuals who have made an exceptional impact on the lives of America’s young people. In 1993, Lanier received the Schick Achievement Award, given to an NBA player in recognition of distinguished contributions off the court.
Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, Lanier had his number retired by the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks. He is a 1990 inductee of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and a 1991 inductee of the Western New York Sports Hall of Fame in his native Buffalo. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honored Lanier with the Manny Jackson Human Spirit Award in 2009. In 1981, the YMCA presented Lanier with the Jackie Robinson Award for service to youth, good citizenship and leadership. In 1978, the Professional Basketball Writers Association selected him (PBWA) to receive the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for outstanding community service.
Lanier graduated with a degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University, where he had an outstanding basketball career, culminating in being named to The Sporting News All-American First Team in 1970. He also received honorary doctorate degrees from St. Bonaventure University and Siena University.
In addition to his work with NBA Cares, Lanier co-authored a children’s book series with Heather Goodyear called Hey Lil’D. Published by Scholastic, the series is based on Lanier’s own childhood experiences. The series consists of four titles: It’s All in the Name, Take the Court, Out of Bounds, and Stuck in the Middle.
About NBA Cares
NBA Cares is the league’s global social responsibility program that brings people together through the game of basketball and helps shine a light on important social issues, including racial, gender, LGBTQ & health equity, education, physical and mental health & wellness, environmental responsibility, and youth, family & community development. NBA Cares programs and participants have provided more than 5.9 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 2,000 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world. Internationally, NBA Cares has created more than 353 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in 40 countries and territories.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.