Special Olympics Oregon receives $10k donation from Damian Lillard, NBA

PORTLAND, Oreg. —  Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has selected Special Olympics Oregon for a charitable donation of $10,000 as a result of him winning the April NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.

An outstanding citizen and philanthropist in his own right, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has ingrained himself as a staple of the Pacific Northwest. One of the most competitive players in pro sports, Lillard puts in as much work off the court as he does on it. His connection with the Special Olympics dates back to his teenage years, but today, he serves as a global ambassador for the world’s largest sports organization for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Lillard was awarded in part for his work with the RESPECT program, which empowers local high school-aged youth to follow three simple rules to be a better person: Show up, work hard and be kind. Despite the pandemic, Lillard persisted in his work with community youth by dedicating his time to virtual meetings with students from three Portland-area high schools – McDaniel, Parkrose and Roosevelt.

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Recently, Lillard debuted a new signature Dame7 shoe dedicated to the students of these high schools. Only 500 pairs were produced and distributed to students in the program as a token of his appreciation for their dedication to the program’s three principals. As a result, Lillard was named the recipient of the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for April.

“It’s an honor to receive the NBA Cares Community Assist Award,” said Lillard.  “From a young age, my mom and dad taught me about the value of giving back and lifting up others.  I’ve been involved with Special Olympics since high school and I’m proud to serve in my role as a Global Ambassador for the organization. Special Olympics is a deserving recipient of this donation as they continue to create a better world of acceptance and inclusion for all people.”

After the 2020-21 NBA season, one player will be named the season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award recipient. For his constant dedication to communities in the Pacific Northwest, his hometown of Oakland and underprivileged students nationwide, Lillard will certainly be in the running.

For now, his focus is set on the task ahead of him: A seven-game first-round playoff series against a division rival in the Denver Nuggets.

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