By Ira Winderman
Former Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade has been named one of three 2017 recipients of the Mannie Jackson Basketball’s Human Spirit Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The award, according to the Hall, “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.”
Jackson. a former star for the Harlem Globetrotters, served as a senior executive for Honeywell Inc. during the 1980s and early ’90s, and saved the Globetrotters from near extinction in 1993, when he purchased the team. In doing so, he became the first African-American owner of a major international sports and entertainment organization. Under Jackson’s watch, the Globetrotters charitable contributions totaled over $15 million.
This year’s other recipients are high school coaching legend and four-time national-championship coach Bob Hurley and women’s basketball pioneer and current Sacramento Kings assistant coach Nancy Lieberman.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 22, 2017
The recipients will be recognized Sept. 7 at the Reunion Dinner during the Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Weekend in Springfield, Mass.
Among previous winners of the award, which was instituted in 2007, are former Heat center and current Heat executive Alonzo Mourning (2009) and former Heat guard and current broadcaster Steve Smith (2015).
“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 Bob Hurley, Nancy Lieberman and Dwyane Wade as three exceptional humanitarians who have used basketball as a platform to improve the world around them, while creating opportunities for the next generation of leaders.”
According to the Hall, Hurley, Lieberman and Wade were selected from a candidate pool that represents every level of basketball and is reviewed annually by a Selection Committee appointed by the Hall and Jackson.
In making the announcement, the Hall noted of Wade, who left the Heat after his first 13 NBA seasons last July to join the Chicago Bulls:
“Understanding that his life is bigger than basketball, 12-time NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade and his family established the Wade’s World Foundation in 2003, a nonprofit charity organization dedicated to giving back to at-risk communities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and the South Florida region. The foundation is dedicated to providing opportunities that enable children to overcome challenges, excel academically and reach their maximum potential while focusing on the initiatives of literacy, health and fatherhood. With a personal goal to give every child a shot at life, Dwyane and WWF support a variety of programs including literacy initiatives, youth basketball clinics, court refurbishments and holiday giving. Wade and his foundation have received numerous awards over the past 14 years including the NBA Cares season-long Kia Community Assist Award in 2013 and the BET Humanitarian Award.”