The NBA today announced that Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio has received the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his continued efforts to improve the lives of children and families, particularly those impacted by cancer, prior to the 2021-22 NBA season. This is the fifth year the NBA and Kaiser Permanente have presented the offseason award to a player for his impactful work from the end of the regular season to the start of the following season.
Rubio is committed to providing resources and improving the hospital experience for cancer patients and their families in his native Spain and the United States through the Ricky Rubio Foundation. In April, he launched “I Am Ready,” a virtual program to ease these experiences for pediatric cancer patients undergoing radiation treatments.
The program, which will be delivered to 1,000 youth patients in the United States during the 2021-22 NBA season, features Rubio guiding the children on what to expect as well as through a workout to reduce their fear and anxiety for treatment. In September, in partnership with Funidació “laCaixa”, Rubio announced the construction of a new therapeutic rehabilitation area at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona to increase the number of children and adolescents the hospital can serve by nearly 40 percent.
During the same month, the Ricky Rubio Foundation also funded a week-long stay for a family navigating cancer at Dreams Village, which aims to have a positive impact on patient recovery.
Throughout the offseason, Rubio provided additional support for local organizations and the next generation of players. In May, he continued his #OneMonthOneCause campaign, a program that showcases and provides contributions to local non-profits, by selecting Minneapolis-based A Breath Of Hope. In Spain, Rubio also launched the Community Team of Masnou, which uses basketball to teach life lessons to young people, and hosted the eighth year of Camp Ricky Rubio in El Collel. Through programs and resources, Rubio’s contributions totaled more than $200,000.
“I’m honored to receive the NBA Cares Offseason Community Assist award,” said Rubio. “There are a lot of NBA players making a difference in their communities and I’m fortunate to be chosen. Since I started playing basketball, I have always thought about how to leverage sports and community. I tossed around the idea of starting a foundation until the decision to act became more personal and clear: my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in the summer of 2012 and in one of my last conversations with her, I promised that I would do everything in my power to help others.”
Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman will present the award to Rubio during an on-court ceremony before the Cavaliers’ home game tonight against the Golden State Warriors (7:30 p.m. ET). In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Rubio’s behalf to the Ricky Rubio Foundation.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente recognizes an NBA player each month during the season who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities. It honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. At the end of the 2021-22 regular season, the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced. Nominees will include Rubio, the offseason winner, the six monthly winners and three additional players selected for their exceptional community work.