J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

The J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since 1975 to a player, coach, or staff member who shows "outstanding service and dedication to the community."[1] The award is named in honor of James Walter Kennedy, the second commissioner (then president)[a] of the NBA.[3] The winner is selected by the Pro Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). The PBWA represents writers for newspapers, magazines and internet services who cover the NBA on a regular basis. Members of the PBWA nominate players for the award, and then a vote is taken by approximately 150 PBWA members. The person with the highest point total wins the award.[3] The award is usually given to a person who made a substantial charitable contribution. For instance, Kevin Garnett received the award in 2006 after donating $1.2 million toward the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.[4]

J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award
LeagueNational Basketball Association
Awarded forPlayer, coach or staff member who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community
First award1975–76
Most recentMalcolm Brogdon
Indiana Pacers

Since its inception, the award has been given to 34 different people. Only one season had joint winners—Michael Cooper and Rory Sparrow in the 1985–86 season. Vlade Divac of Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Dikembe Mutombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pau Gasol of Spain, Canadians Steve Nash (born in South Africa), Samuel Dalembert (born in Haiti), and Luol Deng of the United Kingdom (born in South Sudan) are the only winners who were not born in the United States. J. J. Barea, the 2018 winner, was born in Puerto Rico, a territory whose native-born residents are U.S. citizens by birth. Mutombo is also the only player to win the award twice.[5] Frank Layden and Joe O'Toole were the only non-players to win the award. Layden, the 1983–84 award recipient, was the head coach for the Utah Jazz,[6] while O'Toole, the 1994–95 award recipient, was the athletic trainer for the Atlanta Hawks.[7]


Dikembe Mutombo is the only person to have won the award twice.
Magic Johnson won the award in the 1991–92 NBA season.
LeBron James won the award in the 2016–17 season.
Damian Lillard won the award in the 2018–19 season.
^ Denotes player who is still active in the NBA
* Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Player (X) Denotes the number of times the player has received the award
Season Winner Nationality Team
1974–75 Wes Unseld*   United States Washington Bullets
1975–76 Slick Watts   United States Seattle SuperSonics
1976–77 Dave Bing*   United States Washington Bullets (2)
1977–78 Bob Lanier*   United States Detroit Pistons
1978–79 Calvin Murphy*   United States Houston Rockets
1979–80 Austin Carr   United States Cleveland Cavaliers
1980–81 Mike Glenn   United States New York Knicks
1981–82 Kent Benson   United States Detroit Pistons (2)
1982–83 Julius Erving*   United States Philadelphia 76ers
1983–84 Frank Layden   United States Utah Jazz
1984–85 Dan Issel*   United States Denver Nuggets
1985–86[b] Michael Cooper   United States Los Angeles Lakers
Rory Sparrow   United States New York Knicks (2)
1986–87 Isiah Thomas*   United States Detroit Pistons (3)
1987–88 Alex English*   United States Denver Nuggets (2)
1988–89 Thurl Bailey   United States Utah Jazz (2)
1989–90 Doc Rivers   United States Atlanta Hawks
1990–91 Kevin Johnson   United States Phoenix Suns
1991–92 Magic Johnson*   United States Los Angeles Lakers (2)
1992–93 Terry Porter   United States Portland Trail Blazers
1993–94 Joe Dumars*   United States Detroit Pistons (4)
1994–95 Joe O'Toole   United States Atlanta Hawks (2)
1995–96 Chris Dudley   United States Portland Trail Blazers (2)
1996–97 P. J. Brown   United States Miami Heat
1997–98 Steve Smith   United States Atlanta Hawks (3)
1998–99 Brian Grant   United States Portland Trail Blazers (3)
1999–00 Vlade Divac*   FR Yugoslavia Sacramento Kings
2000–01 Dikembe Mutombo*   Democratic Republic of the Congo Philadelphia 76ers (2)
2001–02 Alonzo Mourning*   United States Miami Heat (2)
2002–03 David Robinson*   United States San Antonio Spurs
2003–04 Reggie Miller*   United States Indiana Pacers
2004–05 Eric Snow   United States Cleveland Cavaliers (2)
2005–06 Kevin Garnett*   United States Minnesota Timberwolves
2006–07 Steve Nash*   Canada Phoenix Suns (2)
2007–08 Chauncey Billups   United States Detroit Pistons (5)
2008–09 Dikembe Mutombo* (2)   Democratic Republic of the Congo Houston Rockets (2)
2009–10 Samuel Dalembert   Canada Philadelphia 76ers (3)
2010–11 Ron Artest[c]   United States Los Angeles Lakers (3)
2011–12 Pau Gasol   Spain Los Angeles Lakers (4)
2012–13 Kenneth Faried   United States Denver Nuggets (3)
2013–14 Luol Deng   United Kingdom Cleveland Cavaliers (3)
2014–15 Joakim Noah   France Chicago Bulls
2015–16 Wayne Ellington^   United States Brooklyn Nets
2016–17 LeBron James^   United States Cleveland Cavaliers (4)
2017–18 J.J. Barea   Puerto Rico Dallas Mavericks
2018–19 Damian Lillard^   United States Portland Trail Blazers (4)
2019–20 Malcolm Brogdon^   United States Indiana Pacers (2)


Awards Teams Years
5 Detroit Pistons 1978, 1982, 1987, 1994, 2008
4 Cleveland Cavaliers 1980, 2005, 2014, 2017
Los Angeles Lakers 1986, 1992, 2011, 2012
Portland Trail Blazers 1993, 1996, 1999, 2019
3 Atlanta Hawks 1990, 1995, 1998
Denver Nuggets 1985, 1988, 2013
Philadelphia 76ers 1983, 2001, 2010
2 Houston Rockets 1979, 2009
Indiana Pacers 2004, 2020
Miami Heat 1997, 2002
New York Knicks 1981, 1986
Phoenix Suns 1991, 2007
Utah Jazz 1984, 1989
Washington Wizards / Washington Bullets 1975, 1977
1 Brooklyn Nets 2016
Chicago Bulls 2015
Dallas Mavericks 2018
Minnesota Timberwolves 2006
Sacramento Kings 2000
San Antonio Spurs 2003
Oklahoma City Thunder / Seattle SuperSonics 1976
0 Los Angeles Clippers None
Milwaukee Bucks
Boston Celtics
Charlotte Hornets
New Orleans Pelicans
Memphis Grizzlies
Toronto Raptors
Orlando Magic
Golden State Warriors

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The official title of the position was NBA President until 1967 when it was changed to NBA Commissioner.[2]
  2. ^ Denotes seasons in which joint winners were named
  3. ^ Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace on September 16, 2011.[8]


  • "Chauncey Billups Wins J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. May 5, 2008. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
  • "J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  1. ^ "Pistons G Chauncey Billups wins sportsmanship award". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  2. ^ Mike Monroe. "The Commissioners". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on April 7, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Snow Named Winner of J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. June 26, 2007. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
  4. ^ "Garnett wins Kennedy Citizenship Award". USA Today. Associated Press. October 31, 2006. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  5. ^ "Mutombo wins J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. April 23, 2009. Archived from the original on April 26, 2009. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  6. ^ "Frank Layden Coaching Record". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  7. ^ "Smith receives NBA's award for community service". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. April 29, 1998. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
  8. ^ "Artest's Name Change to Metta World Peace Approved". The New York Times. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.