Pascal Siakam has had an impressive season on the court, and now the NBA is recognizing his equally impressive off-court efforts by naming him its NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner for February.
Siakam earned the award (duly presented by Kaiser Permanente) thanks to his “efforts to empower and inspire youth in both local and global communities,” according to the NBA. Specifically, Siakam’s work as an ambassador for Right to Play; his efforts visiting schools across Canada and inspiring students students to rise above adversity through sports and education; his participation in Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa; and his work with the Sun Life Dunk for Diabetes program where he encourages kids to lead healthy and active lives, were all recognized by the NBA in honouring Siakam with the award.
That is a heck of a list. It’s easy to be wowed by the Siakam we see during games; his play this year has been sensational, and he's emerged as, essentially, a third star on the second-best team in the NBA, and has carried the team at times when Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard have been sidelined. And if you’ve followed Siakam for the three short years of his career, you’ve seen him improve in leaps and bounds each season (heck, each month) as he’s grown from a hyper-active rookie to an all-around threat that is virtually unstoppable in transition.
So it’s impressive that he’s managed to work on his game that much, and contribute so much off the court. Let’s all give the man a well-deserved round of applause!
Siakam will officially receive the award prior to this Sunday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets. In addition to the award itself, the NBA and Kaiser Permanente will donate $10,000 to Right To Play on Siakam’s behalf.
Siakam is the third Raptor to win the award; Chris Bosh won it in June 2005, and rookie Charlie Villanueva won it in February 2006. Previous winners this season include Mike Conley, Khris Middleton, Damian Lillard and Dwight Powell.