LAS VEGAS, NV – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced this evening from NBA Summer League in Las Vegas the winners of the 2018 Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award. They are Puerto Rico native, disaster relief advocate and NBA Champion J.J. Barea; five-time WNBA All-Star, education and heart health activist Tina Charles; and 14-year NBA veteran and global education and leadership supporter Boris Diaw. The winners will be recognized on Thursday, September 6th at the Reunion Dinner at the Hall of Fame during Enshrinement Weekend.
“The Mannie Jackson Award is an esteemed honor awarded only to those with the highest level of dedication to making a positive impact in the lives of others,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to recognize J.J. Barea, Tina Charles and Boris Diaw for the impact they have had on the national and global level. Our game spans the earth and so does the generosity and commitment of these three outstanding leaders.”
Established in 2007, the Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award honors individuals who have found the game of basketball to be a contributing aspect of their personal growth and accomplishment, a place to develop an understanding of others and an avenue that has helped shape his or her growth into a recognized visionary leader. Winners must reflect the values of Mannie Jackson’s life-long mission to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibility for his or her actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.
“A Hall of Fame should recognize great athletes, but also the great people who are in athletics and are doing extraordinary things for their communities,” said Mannie Jackson, the Award’s namesake. “I am proud to report the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Leadership continues doing an extraordinary job of identifying the ‘greats’ in the basketball community who do positive things for Humankind.”
Barea, Charles and Diaw were chosen from a large candidate pool that represents every level of basketball and is reviewed annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Mr. Jackson.
Jackson has served as a positive example and role model to his peers, in addition to his tremendous business success. A former star for the Harlem Globetrotters, Jackson served as a senior executive for Honeywell Inc. during the 1980’s and early 1990’s and saved the Globetrotters from near extinction in 1993 when he purchased the team. In doing so, Mannie Jackson became the first African-American owner of a major international sports and entertainment organization. In a short period of time, Jackson revived the organization and led the Globetrotters to record attendance and revenue growth while expanding the influence of the Globetrotters to more than 118 countries. Under Jackson’s watch, the Globetrotters charitable contributions totaled over $15 million and in 2002 the Harlem Globetrotters were elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Jackson penned his bestselling autobiography, “Boxcar To Boardrooms” and continues to donate generously to numerous causes including the University of Illinois, South African youth funds, Cancer Research and the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is also active in promoting the mission of the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities located in his hometown Edwardsville, Illinois while serving as the Center’s lead investor. He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award Winners 2018
J.J. Barea – J.J. Barea is one of the smallest players on the court at any given time and what he lacks in size he makes up for in heart. His big heart is a major reason why he has been a champion and valuable player in the NBA for many years. Barea’s swift and sustained response to disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria were impactful and honorable. In borrowing the Mavericks’ team plane, he coordinated five trips to his home country to deliver generators, food, water, clothing, medical supplies and other necessities. In addition to providing more than 100,000 pounds of supplies, Barea personally raised nearly $500,000 for families affected by the hurricane. Barea’s passionate support and tireless efforts won him the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2018. The J.J. Barea Foundation – which offers economic assistance to nonprofit entities in Puerto Rico – partnered with ofo, the world’s leading station-free bike-sharing company, to donate 600 bikes to help with transportation on the island. The work to restore has only just begun for Puerto Rico, but Barea won’t be stopping anytime soon.
Tina Charles – Tina Charles has poured her heart and soul into the game of basketball, beginning with her time at UConn and now as a star in the WNBA with the New York Liberty. Charles’ passion extends beyond the court as she has made it her personal mission to help those in need. Hopey’s Heart Foundation was established in 2013 to provide health education, CPR training and lifesaving AEDs in schools, communities and recreational centers. Charles gleans her inspiration from her Aunt Hopey, who died of multiple organ failure in 2013. Hopey’s Heart Foundation has placed 330 AEDs to date, with a goal of purchasing and donating 100 AEDs every year. Charles donated half her WNBA salary in 2014 and again in 2015 towards this cause. In addition, Charles’ commitment to education can be felt across the globe. Charles has helped fund the construction of a school in Western Africa, as well as funding three four-year secondary school scholarships for girls in Africa through Connect To Learn, a global initiative dedicated to helping educate children in impoverished areas.
Boris Diaw – Boris Diaw is known as one of the most unique personalities in the game; a true renaissance man. Aside from his versatility on the court, Diaw has used his championship pedigree to help numerous young people over the years. Diaw, whose father is Senegalese, leads a delegation of basketball professionals each summer to Senegal and Peru to help countries who grossly underfund training for children, partnering with groups like the Babac’ards Foundation, who has been running basketball camps in Senegal since 2005. Diaw has also homed in on higher quality girls sports programming, founding a SEED Academy for girls in 2013. The school enrolls up to 20 girls a year based on athletic, academic and leadership potential. Diaw was inspired to get involved after learning only 39 percent of Senegalese women are literate. Diaw’s commitment to impacting the youth extends further than basketball training and empowering future leaders. His foundation also supports an orphanage in Senegal and Le Dantec hospital, funding a game room and camps for children battling cancer.
The Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award Winners 2007-2017
2017: Bob Hurley, Nancy Lieberman, Dwyane Wade
2016: Chris Paul, Jalen Rose, Tubby Smith
2015: Paul Fireman, Bill Self, Steve Smith
2014: Bob Delaney, Robert L. Johnson
2013: Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Pat Summitt, Boo Williams
2012: Jim Calhoun, Grant Hill, Dr. Richard Lapchick
2011: Chauncey Billups, Dr. John “Jumpin’ Johnny” Kline, The V Foundation
2010: Jim Boeheim, Samuel Dalembert, Alfreda Harris
2009: Ken Hudson, Bob Lanier, Alonzo Mourning
2008: Sonny Hill, David Robinson
2007: Dikembe Mutombo