During the pandemic, Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell has become one of the leading voices among NBA players on issues of racial justice while continuing to be generous with his means as he had been before.
Those efforts have garnered him the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award, as announced Friday morning by the league.
This is the fourth year the award has been given.
“I’m honored to receive the NBA Community Assist Award,” Mitchell said in a statement. “We, as athletes, have a responsibility to do our part to give back to our communities and raise the bar for the next generation.
“Not too long ago I was one of those kids that looked up to professional athletes, and I recognize how blessed I am to be in this position to give back to the multiple communities that have contributed to my growth not only as an athlete but as a person. My goal is to continue to inspire and encourage youth, from coast to coast with an emphasis on the importance of education.”
Among the highlights of Mitchell’s “community assists,” he and his family donated $12 million to Greenwich Country Day School, where his mother taught and he and his sister Jordan attended.
Additionally, Mitchell donated proceeds from his signature shoe to support multiple educational causes. Those include giving to help provide for the education of the children of Jacob Blake, a man shot by police in Wisconsin in August, and students of color at the University of Louisville where he attended. Mitchell has also donated to preschool teachers in Connecticut and the Bronx, New York.
All of those efforts were in addition to speaking out against racial injustice, which included a meeting with then-vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris in which they were joined by CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers and Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Mitchell was also named to the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, which was formed after the Blake shooting during the NBA’s restart in the Orlando bubble.
Mitchell was presented the award earlier this week and will be recognized during the Jazz’s game Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks (Mitchell is listed as questionable for the contest after being placed in concussion protocol on Wednesday and missing that night’s game).
Kaiser Permanente, the presenter of the award, and the NBA will donate $10,000 to The Children’s Village in New York as part of the honor. The Children’s Village is another organization focused on educational efforts.