Amar’e Stoudemire was recognized for his philanthropic efforts Sunday night.
The retired NBA center/power forward and current star player of Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem basketball club received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, which honors individuals for their efforts to promote diversity and tolerance.
Through his foundation ― which is co-run by his wife, Alexis ― Stoudemire supports at-risk youth around the world by helping to eliminate poverty through education.
“I am truly honored to be receiving this amazing award,” he said in a press release. “It is very gratifying to know that all the work that the Alexis and Amar’e Foundation has done over the years is not overlooked. I am blessed to be able to give back to the community, that’s what it’s all about.”
Last August, Stoudemire hosted a youth basketball peace camp in an effort to unite Middle Eastern children. Earlier in the year, the 34-year-old also launched a series called “In The Paint” to inspire children to explore their creative talents through art and basketball.
“Amar’e Stoudemire has spearheaded many initiatives that empower the less fortunate and advance important principles like tolerance, peace, creativity and healthy living,” Consul General of Israel in New York Ambassador Dani Dayan added in the release.
“His life commitments are in step with the values of the State of Israel and those preached by Dr. King himself... We treasure Dr. King’s belief in the significance of the relationship between the African-American and Jewish communities, as we continue to fight together against hatred and xenophobia.”
Past recipients of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award include Russell Simmons, Harry Belafonte and Toni Morrison.