NEW YORK – The NBA today announced that Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II will receive the NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente for the month of January in recognition of his ongoing support of youth with learning disabilities and passion to uplift children facing other hardships. The monthly honor recognizes a player who best demonstrates the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
Among the various community events Payton participated in around the holidays and new year, he hosted his first-ever Reading Rally with Decoding Dyslexia for students affected by learning disabilities. Since the Reading Rally, as part of his participation in the Warriors Community Foundation season-long Player Ticket Program, Payton has invited youth from Decoding Dyslexia and the University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Dyslexia Center to Warriors home games via his ticket section “Mr. Mean’s Team.” Prior to the team’s matchup on Jan. 18, Payton took the time to reconnect with youth from Decoding Dyslexia that attended the Reading Rally in December. 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.
“I would like to thank the Warriors for nominating me for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award,” said Payton. “I understand that this award acknowledges and shines a light on the work we, as NBA players, do off the court in the community, and I am truly humbled and honored. Community service was an integral part of my childhood; my parents believed that giving back was not only the right thing to do but it was our responsibility. That lifelong lesson helped me grow into the man that I am today and my work with youth and young people with learning disabilities. After I was diagnosed with dyslexia, it became clear that my mission is to support youth and young adults with learning disabilities thrive and succeed. The NBA is giving me a global platform to use my voice to support those who are unable to speak out. Through sharing my story, I can engage, encourage, and empower youth to tell their story and fight for what they need to be successful. As we all continue to navigate through this pandemic, we are needed more than ever to step in and help our communities in need.”
Additionally, in January, Payton was tagged in an inspiring video of a young patient, Noah, who is receiving treatment for Leukemia at UCSF Children’s Hospital in Mission Bay. Upon seeing the video, Payton became determined to meet Noah in person to help lift his spirits and surprised Noah at the hospital with a special visit and signed merchandise.
Payton will be presented with the award on Saturday, March 12 ahead of the Warriors’ matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks at 8:30 p.m. ET. The NBA and Kaiser Permanente will donate $10,000 to the GPII Foundation as Payton’s nonprofit beneficiary of choice.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente 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/.