By Josh Cohen
April 26, 2017
ORLANDO – At every community event he participated in this season – which was many and often – Elfrid Payton would always say how grateful he is to be in a position to help others.
In between all the hard work in the gym to improve his basketball performance, Payton made a concerted effort to give back to the community and make a huge difference in people’s lives.
His devotion to assisting others never went unnoticed either. He was named February’s NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner and shortly after the Orlando Magic presented him with the 2016-17 Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award at the annual OMYF Black Tie & Tennies Gala for his efforts off the court and in the Central Florida community.
Payton is now in the running for another major community honor. The NBA announced that Payton is a finalist for the 2016-17 NBA Cares Community Assist Seasonlong Award. The other nominees include: Tobias Harris, C.J. McCollum, Isaiah Thomas, Zach Randolph, Jrue Holiday, DeMarre Carroll, Jimmy Butler, Mike Conley and Dwyane Wade.
Fans can vote for Payton on social media by using #ElfridPayton and #NBACommunityAssist until Friday, May 5 at 11:59 p.m. An NBA executive panel will also help assess the candidates. The winner will be announced during the 2017 NBA Awards Show in New York on June 26. Below are more details about how you can vote.
Payton, who recorded five triple-doubles in his third year with the Magic, helped inspire dozens of kids at various events during the season. From taking youth on a shopping spree during the holidays to visiting a local hospital and handing out get-well teddy bears to launching an after-school program designed to build children’s confidence, Payton had a remarkable impact.
“It means a lot (being in the community),” Payton said after he teamed up with Papa John’s to donate $2,500 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida in March. “It’s more than just giving money. Being able to interact with them (kids) and talk to them and see how they feel, that goes a long way as well.”
As soon as he was drafted in 2014, Payton knew he would have the opportunity to improve lives. From that moment on, he’s gone above and beyond to put smiles on kids’ faces and encourage them to accomplish their goals.
“It helps them knowing they have somebody who is pushing them, somebody that is supporting them,” Payton said. “You never know what is going on at home so to have somebody who is a positive role model is great for them.”
This is the third straight season a Magic player has been named a finalist for the NBA Cares Community Assist Seasonlong Award (Harris in 2014-15 and Victor Oladipo in 2015-16). John Wall won the award last season.
ONLINE VOTING INSTRUCTIONS
TWITTER: tweet a comment using #NBACommunityAssist and #PlayerFirstNameLastName
– Retweets will count as votes
INSTAGRAM: post a photo using #NBACommunityAssist and #PlayerFirstNameLastName in the photo description
– Only unique posts will be included in the vote; commenting on a post using both hashtags does not qualify as a vote
FACEBOOK: Respond/comment on a post from an NBA account (League, NBA Cares, Team) using #NBACommunityAssist #PlayerFirstNameLastName