The Jerry Colangelo Award recognizes someone in NBA management who lives an exemplary life on and around the basketball court, in the home, and in the community, all while representing character, leadership and faith.
JERRY COLANGELO grew up in a humble working class Italian family in Chicago Heights and began playing basketball at a young age. He went on to become a 2-time All Big Ten performer at the University of Illinois. In 1968 he was hired as the first general manager for the expansion team, the Phoenix Suns. With $200 in his pocket he headed to Arizona with his family and became the youngest general manager in the NBA. Colangelo quickly became one of the most outstanding leaders in NBA management, as he was voted Executive of the Year, four times. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004. Then in 2005, Commissioner David Stern asked if he would take over USA Basketball. The rest is history, as Team USA has won three Olympic Gold Medals and two World Championship Medals.
Often referred to as the Godfather of basketball, Colangelo is one of the most respected men in the game of basketball, worldwide. He has always spoken on the value of integrity, respecting others, and doing things the right way. Every aspect of his life exemplifies character, leadership and faith.
The Bobby Jones Award recognizes a past NBA player who lives an exemplary life on the basketball court, in the home, and in the community. It is named after one of the hardest working men in basketball.
BOBBY JONES had an outstanding career in sports. Early on he won two high school state titles in the high jump and one state title for basketball. He then advanced his talents to the collegiate ranks, where in 1972, he helped the University of North Carolina get to the Final Four and he also played on the 1972 Olympic team. Jones had a 12 year Pro career in the ABA and NBA and was a 5-Time All-Star and 10-Time All-Defensive Team. He received the first NBA 6th Man of the Year Award in 1983, and won the NBA title the same year with the Philadelphia 76ers.
But, what made Jones special was who he is as a person. He was one of the most respected players in the League by his peers, coaches and fans and he has continued to live a life of character, leadership, and faith. Jones reflected such peace and stability, that his teammate, Charles Barkley, said, “If everyone in the world was like Bobby Jones, the world wouldn’t have any problems.”