New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis has received a lot of awards and honors for his play on the basketball court, this season being selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game.
However, he was clearly most proud of his latest award, one that doesn’t involve basketball feats.
Davis received the January NBA Cares Community Assist Award, which recognizes his charitable efforts throughout New Orleans, the NBA announced Thursday. It is his second time winning the award, which he also received in February 2014.
“It means a lot,” Davis said. “I try to do the best I can to give back to the city and show my appreciation, and to win something like this, multiple of these, has been a great honor and a blessing. And, I just try to use everything that I have to give back to the city of New Orleans.”
The award, presented by Kaiser Permanente, is given every month to an NBA player who best exemplifies a passion for giving back to the community.
Last month, Davis treated more than 100 children from the YMCA West Bank to a night of bowling, at which there were refreshments, and he gave away prizes. In December, Davis and teammates Ryan Anderson and Jeff Withey hosted a Toys R Us shopping spree for 75 children from Boys Hope Girls Hope, Raintree Child Services and Kingsley House. And, in November, Davis and his family provided and served Thanksgiving dinners to residents of the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope.
This week, he hosted a night of laser tag, bowling, arcade games and giveaways for 150 students from the Jefferson Parish Parks and Recreation Department. And, he has provided $30,000 in tickets in sending 3,700 underprivileged children to Pelicans games.
At those events, Davis obviously enjoys interacting with the children and adults alike, such as at the Thanksgiving dinner when he talked sports at length with a man who moved to the Salvation Army center because he had no place to live, and when he made the best of a kid’s name being misspelled by saying that was his new nickname, drawing laughter. And, during the bowling night, the genuine time and attention he gave to the children, ages 9 to early teens, elicited chants of “AD!, AD!, AD!” when it was his turn to bowl.
Coach Monty Williams said Davis’ reaching out his part of his personality and character.
“This city is in need of great assistance, and when you can have the most visible athlete in this region doing what he does weekly, says a lot about him,” Williams said. “AD’s always wanting to do stuff for people. He’s got a big heart, and if you’ve got a big heart, it’s hard to live in this city and not want to help.
“You can drive right downtown and go under a bridge and see the need in this city.”
Davis has said in the past that it’s an award he would like to win. He admits that the competitor has come out in him this season, charity work-wise. Last season, he finished second overall to Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry for the David Robinson Award and said he was miffed.
“I tried to figure out a way to step it up and out-do Steph,” he said.
So, Davis founded AD’s Flight Academy, his charity foundation. He does work and funds his events through it aside from the charity work and other appearances he makes for the Pelicans.
For winning the January’s Community Assist Award, Kaiser Permanente presented a $10,000 check to a charity in Davis’ name. He chose the Audubon Nature Initiative, and it goes directly to Louisiana’s coastal restoration.