NEW YORK – Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley has received the January NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his continued work to improve the lives of Memphis youth through mentorship and community outreach, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities.
Kaiser Permanente and the NBA are honoring Conley for the support and opportunities he provides youth throughout Memphis. In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and National Mentoring Month, Conley participated in a candid discussion and tour at the National Civil Rights Museum with five young men from Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School. Leading them in conversation about the work and legacy of Dr. King, the group shared ideas on ways to bridge community divides and actively address social issues. An active board member of the Grizzlies Foundation, Conley regularly provides guidance to empower young men of color at Grizzlies Prep and has donated more than $200,000 to the organization.
Additionally, he provided monetary and emotional support to the family and friends of Kameren Johnson, a Memphis 9-year-old who lost his life in a bus crash last December. Conley hosted Kameren’s family and his Orange Mound football teammates and coaches at the Grizzlies’ Dec. 26 game, where he gifted customized, game-worn sneakers to Johnson’s mother. He also donated $15,000 for a mental wellness retreat, counseling sessions, a fun arcade night, and to assist with the medical bills of Kameren’s teammates who were injured in the crash. Conley also held his 10th annual Bowl N’ Bash to benefit the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, regularly hosts youth through the Grizzlies’ Tickets for Kids program and is a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ambassador.
“For professional athletes, I think we have a responsibility to utilize our platforms to stand for something bigger than our individual selves and to be the voice and support for those who don’t have one,” said Conley. “I feel young men and women of color need to be provided with equal opportunities no matter what their socioeconomic status may be. Through Grizzlies Prep, I am helping to close the opportunity gap for young men of color in the city of Memphis.”
Before the Grizzlies’ home game against the Chicago Bulls tonight (8:00 p.m. ET), NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier will present the award to Conley during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Conley’s behalf to Grizzlies Prep.
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. At the end of the 2018-19 regular season, the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia. To learn more, please visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.