NBA 2020: Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon has won the 2019-20 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, as administered and selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). Named after the NBA’s second commissioner, the honor is presented annually by the PBWA to a player, coach, or athletic trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.
Brogdon was one of five finalists for the 2019-20 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, along with Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (who played for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019-20), Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie, and Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce.
The finalists were chosen by a committee of PBWA members from nominees submitted by NBA teams. The winner was determined by a vote of the entire PBWA, which is composed of more than 200 writers and editors who cover the NBA regularly for newspapers, magazines, and online news outlets.
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“The depth and breadth of Malcolm Brogdon’s commitment to making a positive difference are inspiring,” said PBWA President Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “Members of the Professional Basketball Writers Association salute him and commend his fellow finalists and nominees for their exemplary work.”
A four-year NBA veteran, Brogdon is being honored for his commitment to education, gender, and health equality as well as his support for criminal justice and voting reform. In July, he launched the Brogdon Family Foundation with a focus on two major initiatives, Hoops4Humanity, and the JHA Education Project.
Hoops4Humanity, led by Brogdon and several other NBA and WNBA players, seeks to create access to clean water and education for children and families in Africa. It builds on the efforts of Hoops2O, a program founded by Brogdon in 2018 that raised nearly $700,000 in 18 months to build water wells in Tanzania.
The JHA Education Project, which celebrates the legacy of Brogdon’s maternal grandfather, former civil rights leader, and Paul Quinn College President John Hurst Adams, focuses on literacy, mentoring, and infrastructure programs for students in underserved communities. Under Brogdon’s leadership, the JHA Education Project has partnered with Indianapolis Public Schools to provide students with high-impact educational experiences. Brogdon’s emphasis on education also includes his “Tuesday Talks” series, where he leads discussions with at-risk Black youths about overcoming challenges and reaching goals.
The Brogdon Family Foundation launched soon after Brogdon participated in a peaceful protest in his native Atlanta in May in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Brogdon, 27, averaged career-highs of 16.5 points, 7.1 assists, and 4.9 rebounds in 54 games last season, his first with the Pacers after being acquired in a trade with the Bucks in July 2019. The 6-5 guard spent his first three NBA seasons with Milwaukee, which selected him with the 36th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Brogdon was named the 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year, the only player not drafted in the first round to win the award in the common draft era (since 1966). In 2018-19, Brogdon became the eighth qualified player in NBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range, and 90 percent from the free-throw line in a season.