By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
2009 Jackson Award Winners Announced
The award is presented annually to individuals who have been inspired from their participation in the game of basketball to use the game as a catalyst for both personal growth and change in their community.
“The recipients of the award have long embraced the core values of the game, including dedication, hard work and a commitment to others,” said Mannie Jackson, Chairman of the Board of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Bob Lanier and Alonzo Mourning are leaders in basketball’s global community while Ken Hudson is a leader at the local and regional levels who passed along his passion for the game to millions of youngsters in Massachusetts and Atlanta, alike. All three men truly represent the vision of this prestigious award.”
Now in its third year, the Mannie Jackson – Basketball Human Spirit Award has evolved into an honor that recognizes both national and local or regional grassroots efforts which depict an individual’s commitment to the game of basketball and its role in community service that transcends personal reward and literally challenges the human spirit.
Ken Hudson, the former Vice President Marketing Development and Director of Community Relations for the Coca-Cola Company, became the first person of color to referee a city high school basketball championship (1967).
Later became a pioneering NBA referee, officiating in the league from 1968 to 1972 as one of the league’s earliest African-American game officials. He developed several Boston-area youth basketball programs and was named to the Board of Directors of multiple companies, including Coca-Cola’s New England Board of Directors. He is currently an observer of officials for the NBA.
Bob Lanier, a 14-year standout in the NBA, was an eight-time All-Star following his All-American career at St. Bonaventure. Lanier, the Most Valuable Player of the 1974 NBA All-Star Game, played just over nine seasons in Detroit and four seasons in Milwaukee. He received numerous community service honors, including the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1978.
From 1989 to 2005, Lanier chaired the NBA’s “Stay in School” program, NBA TeamUp Program and the league’s “Read to Achieve” initiative. From 2005-to the present day, Lanier, currently Special Assistant to the NBA Commissioner, remains as the NBA Cares Global Ambassador and has earned numerous awards from the United States Congress to the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy award, dedicated to the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2007.
Alonzo Mourning, a 15-year NBA veteran who earned a league championship ring in 2006 as a member of the Miami Heat, has made as much of an impact off the court as he did when he played on the court in the NBA and as a member of the famed Georgetown Hoyas where he earned three-time NCAA All-American honors.
Mourning contributed to gold medal-winning efforts by USA Basketball at the 1994 World Championship in Toronto and the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.
Mourning was diagnosed with a kidney disorder following the 2000 Olympics and was sidelined (2002-03) after he received a kidney transplant.
All the while, Mourning ran off-season community relations programs such as “Zo’s Summer Groove” and “Zo’s Fund for Life” where he’s raised over $6 million dollars via the Alonzo Mourning Charities program.
After the kidney transplant, the 2006 NBA title and his recent retirement from pro basketball, Mourning continued to be very active in the community and currently serves as a spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
The trio of recipients of The Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award were chosen by a blue ribbon committee comprised of national and international community leaders, Hall of Famers and others with significant experience and success in improving communities worldwide.
The key criteria for award candidates included their history of embracing the core values of the game, but, beyond the game, candidates must reflect the values of Mannie Jackson’s life-long mission to overcome obstacles; challenge the status quo, take responsibility for his or her actions while seeking the highest standard of excellence.
Award candidates will be a recognized leader and catalyst for change in their community and an individual who leads by example, demonstrates a philosophy of respectfulness, teamwork, commitment, and human compassion in all aspects of their lives
“We are proud to announce Ken Hudson, Bob Lanier and Alonzo Mourning as co-recipients of this very prestigious award”, said John L. Doleva, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame President and CEO.
“Their legacy and commitment on the court has only been surpassed by their lifetime dedication off the court, especially to their work as spokespersons for their charitable foundations and impact on a global basis. Mannie Jackson has established very high standards for this award and all three recipients have overwhelmingly exceeded those standards,” added Doleva.
In addition, The Mannie Jackson – Basketball Human Spirit Award provides two annual scholarships valued at $5,000 each to students that are pursuing a master’s degree in a sport management field. The scholarship criteria requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA while using basketball as a tool to give back within their respective communities
For 2009, Lauren Hood from the University of New Haven and Staunton Peck from the University of Wisconsin of La Crosse will be the recipients of the scholarship with recognition being given to both individuals during Enshrinement Weekend.
In 2007, Dikembe Mutombo was named as the inaugural winner of The Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award while Sonny Hill and David Robinson earned the award as co-recipients in 2008.