Sixers center Samuel Dalembert is the 2009-10 recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association. The award is named for the second commissioner of the league and honors an NBA player or coach for outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Dalembert has worked tirelessly to provide relief to victims of a devastating earthquake in his native Haiti since Jan. 12. In addition to making a personal donation of $100,000 to UNICEF, he visited the stricken country twice and raised awareness of the need for relief.
His Samuel Dalembert Foundation, founded in 2007, teams with UNICEF, the Red Cross and Feed the Children to assist relief efforts in Haiti. Dalembert has also been active in helping to build a training facility and a school in Haiti called the Dalembert Academy.
“What Samuel has done should be a model for all professional athletes. He saw a crying need for help and worked tirelessly to give whatever aid he could while spurring others to act and contribute as well,” said Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, president of the PBWA.
The PBWA represents approximately 150 writers for newspapers, magazines and Internet services who cover the NBA on a regular basis. Members nominate players and vote for the award. The finalists this season were Dalembert, Charlie Villanueva of the Detroit Pistons, Ronny Turiaf of the Golden State Warriors and Adonal Foyle of the Orlando Magic.