The Basketball Hall of Fame announced Monday that Phoenix Suns guard Grant Hill, University of Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun and the Founder and Director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics In Sport, Richard Lapchick, have been named this year’s winners of The Mannie Jackson _ Basketball’s Human Spirit Award. The winners will be recognized on Sept. 6th during events leading up to the 2012 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremonies.
“This years winners of The Mannie Jackson _ Basketball’s Human Spirit Award _ are truly exceptional individuals,” John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame said in a statement. “They have each greatly contributed to the improving of their communities and constituencies they serve.”
The criteria for award winners includes embracing the core values of the game through hard work, dedication, and resilience; striving to continuously improve the community they serve, and making an ongoing commitment to others. Beyond the game, award winners must reflect the values of Mannie Jackson’s life-long mission to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibility for personal actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.
Hill, Calhoun, and Lapchick were chosen from a group of six finalists after nominations were screened by a selection committee, appointed by the Hall of Fame and Mr. Jackson. Beginning in 2009, the finalists were grouped in three categories, representing the professional, amateur and grassroots levels of basketball.
Previous winners of the award include current NBA player Chauncey Billups and Samuel Dalembert; The V Foundation for Cancer Research; former Harlem Globetrotter and college basketball All-American Dr. John “Jumpin’ Johnny” Kline; former Georgetown University center and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo; Hall of Famers David Robinson and Jim Boeheim; Philadelphia legend Sonny Hill; and 2009 tri-winners, former NBA official Ken Hudson, Hall of Famer Bob Lanier and former NBA All-Star and Georgetown standout Alonzo Mourning.
Calhoun was chosen, according to the Hall, because he devotes his time and money to help raise millions of dollars for cancer research and education. In 1998, he and his wife established the Calhoun Cardiology Research Fund, donating $125,000 to the UConn Health Center. Each year the Calhoun family host the Jim Calhoun Holiday Food Drive, which has raised over $1 million for the Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare, providing over 1.6 million meals to families in need. Since 1994, Calhoun has served as honorary chairman for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, another example of his continued efforts to impact his community.