PORTLAND, Ore. (April 26, 2017) – Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2016-17 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente. The winner will be determined from a combination of fan votes through social media and a panel of judges from the NBA.
Fans can vote for McCollum via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #NBACommunityAssist and #CJMcCollum. More information and access to voting for McCollum can also be found at www.trailblazers.com/vote. Voting for the award begins today, April 26, and closes Friday, May 5.
“We are fortunate as a professional sports franchise to have a roster of players who genuinely care for this community,” said Christa Stout, Trail Blazers Vice President of Social Responsibility. “CJ is a shining example of a Trail Blazers player who focuses his compassion in an area where he feels it can have the most impact – young people.”
“I am very excited to be among this group of NBA players who are being recognized for their work in the community through the NBA Community Assist Award,” said McCollum. “Serving my community is a great responsibility that I am proud to have and I am looking forward to doing more impactful work in the future.”
McCollum focuses his community work on encouraging youth in their education and career development, with a particular focus on improving literacy. In collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro, McCollum opened the first CJ McCollum Dream Center at the Blazers Boys & Girls Club last November. In addition to personally designing and funding the space, McCollum selected the new amenities featured including: 200 books, 12 computers and headphones, a flat screen TV, a printer, furniture, flooring and artwork.
McCollum also helped develop the center’s programming which includes a speaker series, and special coding, literacy and exploration clubs to engage youth in diverse educational and career opportunities. The initiative continues to grow as McCollum is set to open two more Dream Centers in the spring and fall of 2017. McCollum has also worked with Portland Public Schools for the second straight year with his CJ’s Press Pass program, mentoring more than 30 high schoolers specifically interested in journalism.
“Many players from all professional sports are from Portland and continue to live here. As a born-and-raised Oregonian, I admire the fact that CJ – who is not from Portland – has proven that he believes leaving a legacy after basketball is important to him through his commitment to youth and families in our community,” said Imani Muhammad, Senior Director of Programs for the Boys & Girls Club. “CJ could have chosen a thousand other ways to invest, but he chose to give to Boys & Girls Club of Portland Metro and the community of our Blazers club families and youth. He built a tangible room to provide opportunity to dream, inspire and empower youth to believe they deserve the best. This room is a symbol of someone who is caring, compassionate and loving to the next generation of leaders. For that, CJ gets my vote!”
A Trail Blazers player has now been a finalist for this award in each of the past three seasons. Damian Lillard earned the honor for both the 2015-16 and 2014-15 seasons, as well as his rookie campaign in 2012-13.
The winner will be announced at the inaugural NBA Awards on TNT, which will be televised live on Monday, June 26 in New York. The NBA and Kaiser Permanente will donate $25,000 to the winner’s charity of choice. The NBA will feature the nominees at nba.com/communityassist and via the NBA’s social media outlets.
The nine other finalists for this year’s NBA Cares Community Assist Award include Jimmy Butler (Chicago), DeMarre Carroll (Toronto), Mike Conley (Memphis), Tobias Harris (Detroit), Jrue Holiday (New Orleans), Elfrid Payton (Orlando), Zach Randolph (Memphis), Isaiah Thomas (Boston) and Dwyane Wade (Chicago).