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Robert L. Johnson and Bob Delaney named winners of 2014 Mannie Jackson - Basketball’s Human Spirit Award

Hall of Fame Recognizes Leaders in Basketball for Humanitarian Efforts

SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today that former NBA referee crew chief Bob Delaney and the first African American owner of an NBA team Robert L. Johnson have been named winners of the 2014 Mannie Jackson - Basketball’s Human Spirit Award. The winners will be recognized on Thursday, August 7 at the Reunion Dinner presented by Grey Flannel Auctions on the Hall of Fame’s Center Court during Enshrinement Weekend.

“Each of these winners of the Mannie Jackson - Basketball’s Human Spirit Award have made huge strides in the community and are shining examples of how to make a positive difference in the world,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “It is an honor for us to recognize these two remarkable people for dedicating their lives to humanitarian efforts.”

Winners of the Mannie Jackson - Basketball’s Human Spirit Award exhibit qualities such as striving to improve the community, making a commitment to others, hard work and embracing the core values of the game. Beyond the game, award winners must reflect the values of Mannie Jackson’s life-long mission to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibilities for his or her actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.

Johnson and Delaney were chosen from many candidates who represent every level of basketball, reviewed annually by a distinguished Selection Committee and appointed by the Hall of Fame and Mr. Jackson.

Previous winners of the award include NBA contemporaries Grant Hill, Chauncey Billups and Samuel Dalembert; youth basketball pioneer Boo Williams; former NBA All-Star and Georgetown standout Alonzo Mourning; former Harlem Globetrotter and college basketball All-American Dr. John “Jumpin’ Johnny” Kline; former Georgetown University center and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo; Philadelphia legend Sonny Hill; former NBA official Ken Hudson; Hall of Famers Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Pat Summitt, Bob Lanier, David Robinson, Jim Boeheim and Jim Calhoun; President and CEO of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport, Dr. Richard Lapchick and the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

The Mannie Jackson - Basketball’s Human Spirit Award Winners 2014

Bob Delaney – Former NBA referee crew chief Delaney served as one of the league’s most respected officials for twenty-four seasons. His tireless and ground breaking work with Post-Traumatic Stress providing education and awareness for military, law enforcement, firefighters, first responders and their families has gained international recognition. In 2011, Delaney was recruited by Commissioner David Stern to be an NBA Cares Ambassador to further share the PTS message. 

Robert L. Johnson – Johnson currently serves as the Charlotte Bobcats Governor to the NBA. Since selling the Bobcats in 2010 to MJ Basketball Holdings, LLC, Johnson has retained a minority ownership interest in the team. Having co-founded Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 1979 and serving as BET’s Chairman and CEO, Johnson became the first African-American billionaire. Johnson’s philanthropic contributions have been local and global; including significant contributions towards the building of the West Boulevard YMCA in Charlotte and raised funds for hurricane preparedness for the Bahamas. Johnson created a clothing line to raise money to benefit Africa through Malaria No More and created the Liberia Enterprise Fund with a $30 million investment for Liberian entrepreneurs. In addition, Johnson is one of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Ambassadors of the Game, which is a giving program that helps the Hall of Fame enhance and solidify the values of the game -teamwork, competition, discipline, personal excellence and sportsmanship - for all those who love the game.

Because of Mannie Jackson’s lifelong commitment to the betterment of others, this Award carries his namesake.  Jackson has served as a positive example and role model to his peers in addition to his tremendous business success.  A former star for the Harlem Globetrotters, Jackson served as a senior executive for Honeywell Inc. during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and saved the Globetrotters from near extinction in 1993 when he purchased the team.  In doing so, Mannie Jackson became the first African-American owner of a major international sports and entertainment organization.  In a short period of time, Jackson revived the organization and led the Globetrotters to record attendance and revenue growth while expanding the influence of the Globetrotters to more than 118 countries. Under Jackson’s watch the Globetrotters charitable contribution totaled over $15 million, and in 2002 the Harlem Globetrotters were elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In 2012, Jackson penned his bestselling autobiography, “Boxcar To Boardrooms” and continues to donate generously to numerous causes including, including the American Red Cross, victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast, victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia, the Globetrotters Scholarship Foundation, the University of Illinois, South African youth funds, the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Lincoln School Alumni Foundation of his hometown Edwardsville, Illinois.

2013 Award Winners

Representing the Professional game: Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Representing the Amateur ranks: Pat Summitt

Representing the Grassroots ranks: Boo Williams


2012 Award Winners

Representing the Professional game: Grant Hill

Representing the Amateur ranks: Jim Calhoun

Representing the Grassroots ranks: Dr. Richard Lapchick


2011 Award Winners

Representing the Professional game: Chauncey Billups

Representing the Amateur ranks: The V Foundation

Representing the Grassroot ranks: Dr. John “Jumpin’ Johnny” Kline


2010 Award Winners

Representing the Professional ranks: Samuel Dalembert

Representing the Amateur ranks: Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University

Representing the Grassroots ranks: Alfreda Harris


2009 Award Winners

Ken Hudson

Bob Lanier

Alonzo Mourning


2008 Award Winners

Sonny Hill

David Robinson

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.
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