Ruth Riley Receives 2011 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award
“Ruth Riley’s work on a daily basis makes her team, community and world a better place to be,” head coach and general manager Dan Hughes said. “We are thrilled that she is being recognized for her incredible contributions on and off the court.”
An 11-year WNBA veteran, Riley is in her sixth season with San Antonio where she finished the regular season ranked third on the franchise career record list in blocks (181), third in free throw percentage (87.5), six in defensive rebounds (431) and tied for seventh in total rebounds (571). Riley started all 34 regular-season games for Silver Stars in 2011, leading the team in blocks per game (0.88) and three-point field goal percentage (57.1) while ranking fourth in rebounds per game (3.8).
“Kim Perrot was truly an inspiration to us all, and I am humbled and honored to share this year’s Sportsmanship Award with a player I have immense respect for, Sue Bird,” Riley said. “As a professional athlete I have been blessed with a certain amount of success, and I realize that I have a wonderful opportunity to use the platform that I have been given through sports to positively influence the lives of others. Being recognized for my sportsmanship is special, because it is not about a single athletic achievement, but rather my entire approach to life and purpose.”
A collegiate national champion, WNBA champion and Olympic gold medalist, Riley has been actively involved in the community, both locally and nationally, during her time off the court. In 2006, she traveled with the NBA and WNBA to Nigeria to join in the fight against malaria and has spent the past five years as the national spokesperson for the “Nothing but Nets” program, which helps raise money to purchase bed nights to prevent the disease from spreading. She has also worked with the TRIAD Trust, a non-profit group dedicated to reducing the number of AIDS-related deaths, and has traveled to Kenya, Mali and South Africa with the group as part of a healthy women campaign to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. In 2009, Riley was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and received the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award in 2010, presented annually to one male and one female athlete who exemplify a high degree of citizenship.
Designed to honor a player who exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court – ethical behavior, fair play and integrity – the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award is named for the late Kim Perrot, who helped guide the Houston Comets to their first two WNBA championships before passing away in August, 1999, after a seven-month battle with cancer.
Riley is the second Silver Star to receive the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, following current assistant coach Vickie Johnson (2008). San Antonio veteran guard Tully Bevilaqua also received the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award in 2007 as a member of the Indiana Fever.
In honor of being named the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award co-winners, Bird and Riley will each receive $5,000 and a specially-designed trophy from Tiffany & Co. An additional $5,000 will be designated to the charity of her choice.
Riley will split the $5,000 between the UN Foundation “Nothing but Nets” initiative and the TRIAD Trust.