On and off the hardwood, Devin Booker is having the most successful year of his still-young career.
After helping lead his Phoenix Suns to a Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, Booker is now being recognized for his efforts in the community. The NBA announced on Wednesday that the former Kentucky Wildcat received the 2020-21 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his outreach programs that have had a significant impact on the Phoenix area.
The award was voted on by fans across 12 days of online voting. As a result, The NBA and Kaiser Permanente will donate $25,000 to Phoenix Suns charities on the behalf of Booker.
Congrats @DevinBook on winning the 2020-21 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award!
The honor recognizes his exceptional community outreach in the greater Phoenix area over the past several months via the Devin Booker Starting Five. pic.twitter.com/1IyTGgc9LH
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 7, 2021
This past season, Booker, who is only 24 years old, made his mark in his community by donating $500,000 to help improve Arizona community groups. In total, the Devin Booker Starting Five Initiative has committed to donating $2.5 million across five years, with $500,000 going out annually to local areas in need.
Below is more on Booker’s accomplishments in his community, courtesy of the NBA’s press release.
This season, Booker furthered his commitment to the Phoenix community, donating $500,000 to five Arizona community groups for their respective efforts to improve the lives of local youth and families through his Devin Booker Starting Five Initiative, which has committed a total of $2.5 million over the course of five years – $500,000 annually – to five different youth-serving nonprofits in Arizona. Known as the second Starting Five class, Arizona Autism United, Central Arizona Shelter Services, YMCA of Southern Arizona, GAP Ministries and Elevate Phoenix each received a $100,000 grant from Booker to help address critical funding needs following the pandemic and support their respective efforts to improve the lives of local youth and families. The first class — Special Olympics Arizona, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, UMOM New Day Centers and Ability 360— received their $100,000 grants in late 2019.
Throughout his career in Phoenix, Booker has also provided significant support to youth and families across the Valley through COVID-19 relief, holiday shopping sprees, serving as a guest coach for wheelchair and youth basketball programs and making annual visits to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. In 2020, he was named a Special Olympics Global Ambassador, actively promoting inclusion through sport and continuing to participate in events with Special Olympics Arizona. At the 2016 and 2017 NBA Draft Lottery, he selected deserving young athletes to accompany him as his guest. [NBA]
On the court, Booker went for 27 points, six assists, and three steals in his first-ever NBA Finals appearance as the Suns took a 118-105 victory in Game 1 over the Bucks. Not only is this Booker’s debut in the Finals, but it’s also his NBA Playoffs debut, which makes Phoenix’s run all the more impressive, especially when you consider how poor the franchise has played since drafting him back in 2015.
But after years of losing and negativity, Booker is reaching his potential right in front of our eyes. The on-court success feels even sweeter knowing that he’s making a serious effort to boost up the Phoenix communities that need it the most.