Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris has received the October NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his leadership and dedication to mentoring at-risk youth throughout the community, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities.
Kaiser Permanente and the NBA are honoring Harris for his widespread efforts to positively impact the lives and health of youth through active mentorship. Harris created the Tobias Harris School of Business Mentoring Program with assistance from the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Matching local high school students with mentors from professional sports, business and education, the program provides students with consistent resources and academic support for their continuing education and professional development.
Recently, joined by teammate Marcus Morris, Harris helped lead a panel during a private town-hall meeting to engage athletes from Detroit’s professional sports teams, community leaders, local law enforcement and youth groups. The candid conversations explored ways to improve relationships between law enforcement and communities, and is part of the NBA and NBPA’s efforts with teams and players to build stronger, safer communities.
Additionally, Harris participated in the Seeds of Peace basketball camp this past offseason, bringing together hundreds of teenagers and educators from places of conflict, particularly the Middle East, in an effort to empower a new generation of global leaders. Harris also partnered with the Yes We Can Community Center and UAS Inc. to help young athletes and their parents navigate the college scholarship process. The initiative included four days of training sessions to improve their basketball skills and fundamentals.
“It’s important to give back to the community and make an impact with youth most in need of guidance,” said Harris. “In a world where more leaders are needed, mentorship is the first step to try to effect real change.”
Before Saturday’s home game against the Boston Celtics, Harris will be presented the award during an oncourt ceremony. The award honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Harris’ behalf to Feeding Children Everywhere.
To learn more, please visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.