The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced from NBA Summer League in Las Vegas the winners of the 2018 Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award, Wednesday evening. Among this year’s esteemed class is five-time WNBA All-Star, education and heart health activist Tina Charles-recognized for her admirable humanitarian efforts off the hardwood.
Puerto Rico native, disaster relief advocate and NBA Champion J.J. Barea and 14-year NBA veteran and global education and leadership supporter Boris Diaw were also recognized.
“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.”
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.
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.”
The winners will be formally recognized on Thursday, September 6 at the Reunion Dinner at the Hall of Fame during Enshrinement Weekend.
Charles and the New York Liberty return to action Sunday, July 15 at 3:00 PM (ET) against the Chicago Sky at Westchester County Center. This weekend’s matchup helps culminate the Liberty’s first-ever three-day Unity Weekend initiative with a panel discussion prior to tip-off.
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