The J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since 1975 to a player, coach, or staff member who shows "outstanding service and dedication to the community." The award is named in honor of James Walter Kennedy, the second commissioner (then president)[a] of the NBA. The winner is selected by the Pro Basketball Writers Association (PBWA). The PBWA represents writers for newspapers, magazines and internet services who cover the NBA on a regular basis. Members of the PBWA nominate players for the award, and then a vote is taken by approximately 150 PBWA members. The person with the highest point total wins the award. The award is usually given to a person who made a substantial charitable contribution. For instance, Kevin Garnett received the award in 2006 after donating $1.2 million toward the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Since its inception, the award has been given to 34 different people. Only one season had joint winners—Michael Cooper and Rory Sparrow in the 1985–86 season. Vlade Divac of Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Dikembe Mutombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pau Gasol of Spain, Canadians Steve Nash (born in South Africa), Samuel Dalembert (born in Haiti), and Luol Deng of the United Kingdom (born in South Sudan) are the only winners who were not born in the United States. J. J. Barea, the 2018 winner, was born in Puerto Rico, a territory whose native-born residents are U.S. citizens by birth. Mutombo is also the only player to win the award twice. Frank Layden and Joe O'Toole were the only non-players to win the award. Layden, the 1983–84 award recipient, was the head coach for the Utah Jazz, while O'Toole, the 1994–95 award recipient, was the athletic trainer for the Atlanta Hawks.In 2017-18 season the award was given to Puerto Rican Player JJ Barea of the Dallas Mavericks.
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|*||Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame|
|Player (X)||Denotes the number of times the player has received the award|
- National Basketball Association portal
- Allstate AFCA Good Works Team
- NBA Community Assist Award (basketball)
- "Chauncey Billups Wins J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. May 5, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- "J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- "Pistons G Chauncey Billups wins sportsmanship award". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
- Mike Monroe. "The Commissioners". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
- "Snow Named Winner of J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. June 26, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- "Garnett wins Kennedy Citizenship Award". USA Today. Associated Press. October 31, 2006. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- "Mutombo wins J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. April 23, 2009. Archived from the original on April 26, 2009. Retrieved April 23, 2009.
- "Frank Layden Coaching Record". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
- "Smith receives NBA's award for community service". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. April 29, 1998. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
- "Artest's Name Change to Metta World Peace Approved". The New York Times. September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2011.