Six Candidates from Ranks of Professional, Amateur and Grassroots Basketball Recognized for their Humanitarian Efforts
INDIANAPOLIS – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today announced six finalists for The Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award presented by CSX. The finalists, grouped in three categories, are: Professional: Samuel Dalembert, and Kenny Smith; Amateur: Jim Boeheim and Bob Hurley, Sr.; and Grassroots: Alfreda Harris and Johnny Kline.
The Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award is given annually to individuals who have honored the game of basketball by virtue of their personal growth and life-long accomplishments. Previous winners of the award include former Georgetown University center and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo; Philadelphia legend Sonny Hill; and Hall of Famer David Robinson, along with 2009 tri-winners, former NBA official Ken Hudson, Hall of Famer Bob Lanier and former NBA All-Star and Georgetown standout Alonzo Mourning.
Additional criteria for award candidates include embracing the core values of the game, hard-work, striving to improve the community and making a commitment to others. Beyond the game, candidates must reflect the values of Mannie Jackson’s life-long mission to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibility for his or her actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence. All award candidates are recognized leaders and catalysts for change in their communities.
Finalists were chosen from a pool of nominations by a Finalists Selection Committee appointed by the Hall of Fame and Mr. Jackson and have been grouped in three categories, representing the professional, amateur and grassroots levels of basketball. A winner will be selected from each category to honor three individuals who have utilized the sport of basketball to contribute to the greater good of society.
The Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award winners will be announced in August and will be recognized as part of the 2010 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremonies.
Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia 76ers center – A UNICEF national ambassador for Haiti who donated more than $125,000 to assist earthquake relief efforts in his homeland. In 2007, he started the Samuel Dalembert Foundation to help better the lives of people in Haiti. Dalembert is an active participant in NBA Cares activities with the Sixers and frequently participates in the Basketball without Borders program.
Kenny Smith, NBA Legend and TNT commentator – Created the “Aim High Foundation” to promote a commitment to education while encouraging ‘at-risk’ youth to participate in athletic and social programs to become productive and responsible members of society. Dating back to 2005, Smith helped raise over $1 million to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina. He regularly hosts basketball clinics and holiday events to provide resources for the disadvantaged.
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University head coach – A member of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council who has helped raise $2.9 million over the past nine years by conducting the annual “Basket Ball” Gala in Syracuse. Overall, he has helped raise more than $4.5 million for the American Cancer Society. Boeheim volunteers his time and services to charitable organizations, including Crouse Hospital’s Kienzle Family Maternity Center, the Children’s Miracle Network, the Eldercare Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics.
Bob Hurley, Sr., St. Anthony High School head coach – A former Recreation Director and Corrections Officer in Jersey City, New Jersey, Hurley helps raise money to keep St. Anthony’s operating while he provides year-round instruction and guidance to youth in the community. Hurley’s efforts have resulted in hundreds of students gaining college scholarships to Division I and II institutions. Since beginning his coaching career in 1972, all but one player has gone on to attend college. Hurley is known for donating his annual stipend as coach for equipment and supplies.
Alfreda Harris – Founded the SAT Preparation Program serving high school students in Boston while founding and coordinating girls’ basketball leagues and AAU teams for the city. Harris also founded the Owen Wells Fitness Center and the Reebok Educational Athletic Partnership that provides students with community programs in social development, computer skills and tutoring. Serves as a Board member for the Shelbourne, Mass. Community Council, Boston Neighborhood Basketball League and the Police Athletic League.
Dr. John L. “Jumpin’ Johnny” Kline – A graduate of Wayne State University where he earned his Bachelor’s, Masters and Ph D. degrees, Kline, played for the Harlem Globetrotters from 1953-59. After battling back from drug addiction, he was appointed by Mayor Coleman A. Young as Detroit’s Director of Drug Prevention Services and later was appointed by Michigan Governor James Blanchard to the Michigan Board of Nursing to help battle issues of drug abuse. Kline also founded the Black Legends of Professional Basketball Foundation, a Detroit-based non-profit organization that promotes and preserves the history and culture of the sport of basketball, commemorating players from the years 1900 to 1960.