Atlanta Hawks third-year center Onyeka Okongwu has been awarded the Jason Collier Memorial Trophy for community ambassadorship this season. Collier, a former Hawks center, Georgia Tech standout and McDonald’s All-American, died in 2005. Okongwu is the 16th Hawks player to receive the award. He will be presented with the honor tonight before the Hawks (40-39 0verall) host the Washington Wizards (34-45) at State Farm Arena.

Upon learning that he was receiving the award Okongwu said in statement The Atlanta Voice received from the team, that he was “incredibly grateful” and that “giving back to the youth has always been important to me. In receiving this honor, I hope to inspire others to lead the charge for community growth and continue to impact youth in engaging and positive ways.”

Okongwu, a Los Angeles, California native, is caping off a career year on the court (9.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and a team high 1.4 blocks per game) with this award. During this season he has participated in the NBA Social Impact Youth Basketball Clinic while the team was in Abu Dhabi during the preseason, and in January he was a lot closer to home when he worked with the Bessie Branham Good Neighbor Club on encouraging local youth interest in technology.

He has also participated in boys and girls basketball clinics, students visits to area schools, and as a part of Project Rebound, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, and Kate’s Club, an Atlanta-area nonprofit which empowers children and teen who have had to experience the death of a parent, sibling or caregiver.

Past recipients of the award include former hawks Josh Childress, Marvin Williams, Al Horford, Paul Milsap and Cam Reddish. Current Hawks John Collins and Trae Young have also received the award during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, respectively.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...