Nets’ Wayne Ellington wins PBWA’s 2015-16 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

NEW YORK – Guard Wayne Ellington of the Brooklyn Nets has won the 2015-16 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award as selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA).  The honor, named after the NBA’s second commissioner, is presented annually by the PBWA to the player, coach or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.

The other finalists for the award were guard George Hill of the Indiana Pacers, forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, guard Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and guard John Wall of the Washington Wizards.

After his father, Wayne Ellington Sr., was shot to death on Nov. 9, 2014, in Philadelphia, Ellington, a native of Wynnewood, Pa., decided to channel his grief into action by becoming an advocate for gun-violence prevention.

On Sept. 21, 2015, Ellington was the featured speaker at Peace Day Philly’s “March for Peace” before a crowd of mostly schoolchildren, many of whom lost a loved one to gun violence.  His speech was a primary attraction at the fifth annual Peace Day Philly, which was the culmination of a weeklong series of peace-oriented events.  Also in September, Ellington joined Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and other current and former NBA players to help run the fourth annual Chicago Peace League Basketball Tournament, which aims to reduce gang violence in the city.

Ellington has continued his outreach efforts by creating the “Power of W.E.” campaign.  In addition to filming a PSA for one of the only hospital-based violence-prevention programs of its kind in the country (in conjunction with Temple University), Ellington plans to host the Philadelphia Peace Games in August.  For that event, rival gang members in Philadelphia will come together for a basketball game played on a court built and customized with Power of W.E. messaging for community use.

“Wayne Ellington’s efforts to curb gun violence are inspiring,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.  “His message resonates.”

Ellington also connected with The Rens, a grassroots children’s basketball program in New York City.  The Rens became the first basketball team in the country at any level to wear orange patches on their jerseys as a statement against the crisis of gun violence after multiple incidents of gun violence involving the team’s members. Ellington provided them with tickets to attend two Nets games.  Through the Brooklyn Nets Assist program, Ellington also donated more than 2,000 tickets this season to various youth basketball programs, non-profit organizations and schools throughout New York City.

The PBWA is composed of approximately 175 writers and editors who cover the NBA on a regular basis for newspapers, online outlets and magazines.

Below is the list of all-time winners of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award:


Season    Winner, Team
1974-75    Wes Unseld, Washington
1975-76    Slick Watts, Seattle
1976-77    Dave Bing, Washington
1977-78    Bob Lanier, Detroit
1978-79    Calvin Murphy, Houston
1979-80    Austin Carr, Cleveland
1980-81    Mike Glenn, New York
1981-82    Kent Benson, Detroit
1982-83    Julius Erving, Philadelphia
1983-84    Frank Layden, Utah
1984-85    Dan Issel, Denver
1985-86    Michael Cooper, L.A. Lakers
Rory Sparrow, New York
1986-87    Isiah Thomas, Detroit
1987-88    Alex English, Denver
1988-89    Thurl Bailey, Utah
1989-90    Doc Rivers, Atlanta
1990-91    Kevin Johnson, Phoenix
1991-92    Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers
1992-93    Terry Porter, Portland
1993-94    Joe Dumars, Detroit
1994-95    Joe O’Toole, Atlanta
1995-96    Chris Dudley, Portland
1996-97    P.J. Brown, Miami
1997-98    Steve Smith, Atlanta
1998-99    Brian Grant, Portland
1999-00    Vlade Divac, Sacramento
2000-01    Dikembe Mutombo, Philadelphia
2001-02    Alonzo Mourning, Miami
2002-03    David Robinson, San Antonio
2003-04    Reggie Miller, Indiana
2004-05    Eric Snow, Cleveland
2005-06    Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
2006-07    Steve Nash, Phoenix
2007-08    Chauncey Billups, Detroit
2008-09    Dikembe Mutombo, Houston
2009-10    Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia
2010-11    Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers
2011-12    Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers
2012-13    Kenneth Faried, Denver
2013-14    Luol Deng, Cleveland
2014-15    Joakim Noah, Chicago
2015-16   Wayne Ellington, Brooklyn
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