Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul was among the three recipients of the Mannie Jackson — Basketball’s Human Spirit Award, annually awarded to basketball figures for humanitarian efforts.
ESPN/ABC basketball analyst Jalen Rose and University of Memphis coach Tubby Smith were the other recipients selected by a committee appointed by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Jackson, a former Harlem Globetrotters player who bought the team in 1993.
Paul established what is now the Chris Paul Family Foundation in 2005.
The foundation focuses on enriching Winston-Salem, North Carolina, his hometown, New Orleans, where he began his professional career, and Los Angeles through initiatives including literacy, holiday giving, emergency preparedness, prom dress giveaways, youth basketball clinics and court refurbishments.
Paul and his wife Jada have also committed to funding SOS Children’s Villages in Africa and financing two annual scholarships to Wake Forest University, their alma mater, in honor of his late grandfather.
Paul, Rose and Smith will be recognized on Sept. 8 at the Reunion Dinner on the Hall of Fame’s Center Court in Springfield, Massachusetts during Enshrinement Weekend.
The award was established in 2007. It honors individuals who have found the game of basketball to be a contributing aspect of their personal growth and accomplishment, a place to develop an understanding of others and an avenue that has helped shape his or her growth into a recognized visionary leader.
Winners must reflect the values of Jackson’s life-long mission to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibility for his or her actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.
Past recipients include Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships in the 1980s, former Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt, and former San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson.
“The Mannie Jackson — Basketball’s Human Spirit Award is a prestigious honor awarded only to those with this highest level of dedication to making a positive impact off the court,” said John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Mr. Paul, Mr. Rose and Mr. Smith are remarkably qualified.”
—City News Service