Damian Lillard prides himself on what he does on the court but also takes pride in treating those around and in the community well.
The NBA announced the 10 finalists for the 2020-’21 NBA Cares Season long Community Assist Award. Among the 10 nominees is Lillard, who was recently voted Teammate of the Year by other players in the league.
Fans will be able to vote for the winner on NBA.com, and Lillard’s benefiting charity would be Special Olympics Oregon.
This season, Lillard received the April NBA Cares Community Assist Award, marking the third time he has earned the monthly award. Two years ago, he won the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, as administered and selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, for his outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Since arriving in Portland in 2012, Lillard has invested in and mentored local high school-aged youth through his RESPECT program that supports three Portland-area high schools – McDaniel, Parkrose and Roosevelt.
This year amidst the global pandemic, RESPECT adjusted to the norm of virtual learning. Lillard made video visits to keep in contact with participants remotely and acknowledged students and teachers through his social media platforms. When schools returned to in-person learning, he provided RESPECT branded face masks for students and staff.
Lillard also debuted a special RESPECT edition of his signature Dame7 shoe exclusively for the students in the program. The 500 pairs produced incorporated McDaniel, Parkrose and Roosevelt school colors and featured the three RESPECT principles: Show Up, Work Hard, and Be Kind.
He gifted the shoes to RESPECT’s partner schools to reward students who are living out each principle and wore the sneakers several times during the season.
In addition to RESPECT, he continued his role as ambassador for the Moda Assist Program in partnership with Moda Health and the Trail Blazers, which donates $20 per assist made during the season to fund the development of all-ability inclusive playgrounds throughout the state of Oregon. This year, the city of Astoria has been selected to receive funds to help build an all-abilities playground and enhance their community.