NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier and Kaiser Permanente Vice President, External and Community Affairs Yvette Radford presented Westbrook with the David Robinson Plaque during a presentation at the New York Hilton. Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will also donate $25,000 to Westbrook’s Why Not? Foundation. Launched in 2012, the foundation works to help children facing hardships of any kind, supporting community-based education and family service programs.
In addition to captivating audiences with his record-breaking play this season, Westbrook impacted the lives of Oklahomans with his generosity off the court. After receiving a brand new car for being named the 2015 Kia NBA All-Star MVP, Westbrook worked with Sunbeam Family Services to donate the automobile to Kerstin Gonzalez, a single mother of two children. Click here to watch Westbrook surprise Gonzalez with the new car.
During the 2014-15 season, Westbrook and his Why Not? Foundation opened new reading centers in three Oklahoma City public schools. “Russell’s Reading Rooms” provide underserved children with 1,200 books, engaging students of all ages in reading. Westbrook’s yearlong charitable efforts also included hosting Thanksgiving meals, holiday parties and shopping sprees for Oklahomans in need, granting wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and participating in food packing events, hospital visits and several Thunder FIT clinics.
“As a child, my brother and I were taught to challenge adversity by working harder and asking ourselves ‘why not?’” said Westbrook. “The Why Not? Foundation aims to empower children to overcome their own obstacles and provide them with opportunities to reach their full potential.”
The award was voted on by fans and an NBA panel of judges including past J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award winners, Lanier and Dikembe Mutombo.