Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill has been named a winner of the 2012 Mannie Jackson - Basketball's Human Spirit Award as the professional basketball representative. Also named were Connecticut Men's Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun and the Founder and Director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics In Sport, Dr. Richard Lapchick, according to a press release from The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
According to the release, winners were selected by:
The criteria for award winners includes embracing the core values of the game through hard work, dedication, and resilience; striving to continuously improve the community they serve, and making an ongoing commitment to others. 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 responsibility for personal actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.
That certainly describes Hill, who is a 3-time winner of the NBA's Sportsmanship Award in addition to the numerous awards he's received for his performance on the court, 7 All-Star appearances and 5 All-NBA team awards among them. Here are the specific traits of Hill cited for the award:
Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns – Known for his positive attitude, strong work ethic and high moral code, Hill has routinely left his mark in a number of cities where he played professionally. He lends his support not only to a variety of national issues but to local issues as well. Hill was recently awarded a key to the city of Reston, Virginia, where he was raised with the proceeds from that reception going to the Medical Care for Children Partnership, which provides medical services for needy children in the county. Hill also appeared on behalf of Foot Locker and Fila, at a Detroit middle school to kick-off a program designed to replace backboards in 250 area schools. In addition, GMC Trucks sponsored his visit to the Michigan Special Olympics Women’s basketball team where he spoke, joked, and shot baskets with the players.
Said Jackson, the man for whom the award is named, and former player and owner of the Harlem Globetrotters: "We are proud to honor three of the most deserving selections since the award was established. Having known all three personally, I admire their sustained work and contributions to both the game of basketball and their communities."
Hill will be recognized on Sept. 6 in a ceremony leading up to the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. Among this year's HOF inductees are Reggie Miller, Don Nelson and Jamaal Wilkes.
Past winners of the Mannie Jackson Award are Chauncey Billups, Samuel Dalembert, Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson and Dikembe Mutombo.
Congratulations, Grant! Making us proud again.