MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Grizzlies’ Mike Conley has been awarded the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for January for his outreach work and donations to several Memphis causes, including helping the teammates of a young Memphis football player killed in a bus crash.
The NBA said in a release that Conley had provided financial and emotional support for the friends and family of Kameron Johnson, who was killed in a bus crash in December. Conley hosted Kameren’s family and his Orange Mound football teammates and coaches at the Grizzlies’ Dec. 26 game, where he gave customized, game-worn sneakers to Johnson’s mother. He also donated $15,000 for a wellness retreat and medical bills for Johnson’s teammates.
In addition, Conley took five students from Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School on a tour and discussion at the National Civil Rights Museum. Conley is a board member of the Grizzlies Foundation and has donated more than $200,000 to the organization.
Conley also held his 10th annual Bowl N’ Bash to benefit the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, regularly hosts youth through the Grizzlies’ Tickets for Kids program and is a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital ambassador, the NBA said.
“For professional athletes, I think we have a responsibility to utilize our platforms to stand for something bigger than our individual selves and to be the voice and support for those who don’t have one,” Conley said in a statement. “I feel young men and women of color need to be provided with equal opportunities no matter what their socioeconomic status may be. Through Grizzlies Prep, I am helping to close the opportunity gap for young men of color in the city of Memphis.”