Tyler Hansbrough, a finalist for the Kia Community Assist Award
The Pacers have another player who’s up for a league-wide award, this one for contributions made off the court. Forward Tyler Hansbrough is one of ten finalists for the season-long Kia Community Assist Award, which honors the NBA player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.
Hansbrough has been gotten particularly involved on two fronts: a “Sideline Soldiers” program, which honors military members and their families and Voices Against Brain Cancer.
“It means a lot,” Hansbrough said of being one of the finalists. “I always try to give back to the community but it’s something I really care about helping with the soliders when they come back. Just try to bring them out to the game, but also for Voices Against Brian Cancer. It’s something that hits home and is a big deal for me because they are both things that I really care about.”
With the Sideline Soldiers program, Hansbrough invites military members and their families to select games. He provides them with tickets, a complimentary meal, and allows them watch warmups from the bench. The cause is close to the heart because he has family members that have served in the military, including his grandfather, a war veteran.
Hansbrough joined the Voices Against Brain Cancer initiative within the last year. His eldest brother, Greg, was diagnosed with brain cancer at an early age so Tyler and younger brother (and teammate) Ben, saw the struggles Greg dealt with and overcame. In March, Tyler and Ben hosted ‘Hoops with the Hansbroughs,’ an event to both honor Greg and raise money for the cause. They are the first professional athletes to work with a brain cancer charity.
The winner, which will be determined by the fans’ vote and a distinguished panel of NBA judges, will receive a $25,000 donation from Kia and the NBA to a charity of their choice. Hansbrough says if he wins, the money would go to Voices Against Brain Cancer “for what I know about brain cancer and what it’s done to some people that I know … and it’s a little more personal because my brother had it.
“My brother had cancer and I felt like I’m in a situation where I can bring a lot of awareness to it, voice my opinion and bring it out to the public. I’m gifted in a way that I have a platform that not a lot of people have.”
Voting by the fans is open from Monday, April 29 to Friday, May 17.
Hansbrough’s competition: Tyson Chandler (Knicks); Kenneth Faried (Nuggets); David Lee (Warriors); Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers); Kevin Love (Timberwolves); Chris Paul (Clippers); Zach Randolph (Grizzlies); Dwyane Wade (Heat); and Deron Williams (Nets).