Mavericks’ J.J. Barea wins 2017-18 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

NEW YORK – Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea has won the 2017-18 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, as administered and selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA).  The honor, named after the NBA’s second commissioner, is presented annually by the PBWA to a player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.

Barea was one of five finalists for the award, along with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.  The finalists were chosen by a committee of 25 PBWA members from a list of 25 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 on a regular basis for newspapers, magazines and websites.

A 12-year NBA veteran, Barea is being honored for his swift and sustained response to disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  Born and raised in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Barea married his wife, Viviana Ortiz, on the island in August 2016.  His parents and other family members live in Puerto Rico and were among those affected by the September storm.

“J.J. Barea’s impassioned and tireless efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico are inspiring and should spur us all to contribute in our own communities,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.  “PBWA members salute J.J., his fellow finalists and fellow nominees for their outstanding and heartfelt work.”

In the days immediately after Hurricane Maria, Barea coordinated five trips to the island and worked with partners in North Texas to deliver generators, food, water, clothing, medical supplies and other necessities.  He borrowed the Mavericks’ team plane from owner Mark Cuban to facilitate delivery.

In addition to providing more than 100,000 pounds of supplies, Barea helped organize financial support for families affected by the hurricane.  He has personally raised nearly $500,000 and launched a fundraiser on that has generated nearly $270,000.  Barea also worked with the Mavericks to donate 100 percent of all single-game ticket sales from their Oct. 25 game against the Memphis Grizzlies, raising an additional $114,000 for Puerto Rico’s recovery.

In January, the J.J. Barea Foundation – which offers economic assistance to nonprofit entities in Puerto Rico – partnered with ofo, the world’s leading station-free bike-sharing company, to donate 600 bikes to help with transportation on the island.  After being shipped to Puerto Rico and assembled by the foundation with guidance and training from ofo, the bikes were distributed among the Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico and communities along the Martín Peña Channel.

Barea, 33, averaged career highs of 11.6 points and 6.3 assists in 69 games (11 starts) for Dallas in the 2017-18 season.  The undrafted 6-foot guard has career averages of 8.9 points and 3.9 assists in 764 games, spending nine seasons with the Mavericks and three seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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