Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Richardson are co-winners of the January NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of their efforts to immediately provide support for those impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in their new team markets, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes players each month who best reflect the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
After joining the Bucks in November, Jrue and his wife, Lauren, partnered with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation to identify small, women- and Black-owned businesses most in need of assistance. After reviewing grant requests, the Holiday family announced funding for seven local businesses in January – Amri Counseling Services, Carter’s Quality Care, Hands at Home, Jamaican Season Island Restaurant, Kid’s Kingdom, Legacy Home Health Services and The SW Retreat – that provide a variety of services in southeastern Wisconsin, including assisted living, home health, childcare, mental health and substance abuse services, hospitality and more.
Similarly, Richardson, who joined the Mavericks shortly before the start of the 2020-21 season, quickly sought to make an impact in the greater Dallas area, surprising dozens of frontline health care workers from UT Southwestern Medical Center with Reebok sneakers, team merchandise and a surprise video message thanking them for their ongoing efforts to keep the community safe. He also visited a Dallas Independent School District first grade class as a guest reader, surprising the students and encouraging them to embrace reading and education during the particular challenges of this school year.
As the son of an Air Force servicewoman, Richardson has continued to work with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which provides comfort, care and resources to family and friends grieving the death of a servicemember. For several years, he has developed a close relationship with his mentee, Elijah, through the program, and during the holiday season, he provided gifts for more than 20 families who have also lost a loved one in service.
“My family instilled in me early on the value of service and that communities are created and sustained by our ability to support and serve others,” said Richardson. “I’m grateful to the Mavs organization and community for welcoming me with open arms, supporting Dallas is a priority for me.”
Holiday has also made long-term commitments to assist communities important to him, including pledging the remainder of his 2020 NBA salary to create The Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Fund, which seeks to combat systemic racism and increase economic inequality by providing funding and support to Black-led organizations and businesses. Earlier this season, the fund announced support for 25 non-profits and historically Black institutions, as well as 23 Black-owned small businesses in Los Angeles, New Orleans and Indianapolis.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened racial injustices in 2020, many of us have been looking for answers,” said Holiday. “Lauren and I found ourselves searching for ways to help our community at a time when they needed it most. Pledging the remainder of our 2020 NBA salary to small Black-owned businesses, non-profits and initiatives is how we felt we could make a lasting impact.”
Holiday and Richardson were presented with their awards during special virtual ceremonies with league, Kaiser Permanente and their respective team officials this past week. They will also both be recognized in-arena during their teams’ games this week (Dallas vs. Boston tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT and Milwaukee vs. L.A. Clippers on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.) In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Holiday’s behalf to the Jrue & Lauren Holiday Social Justice Fund and $10,000 on Richardson’s behalf to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities. It honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. At the end of the 2020-21 regular season, the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced. To learn more, please visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.