Brook Lopez wins 'NBA Cares' award for March, 'Blocks for Books'

Brook Lopez (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez on Wednesday, April 19 was named the NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner for the month of March in recognition of his commitment to supporting youth literacy.

March is National Reading Month and since joining the Bucks in 2018, Lopez has made it his mission to make reading both fun and accessible. Throughout the season, Lopez has donated roughly $175,000 for books and funding in support of literacy initiatives in Milwaukee.

Each month of the regular season, the NBA said in a news release, the award recognizes a player who best demonstrates the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities. 

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As part of Lopez’s "Blocks for Books" program, he donates $500 to Next Door for every block he records during the regular season in support of early childhood literacy. Lopez’s success on the defensive end this season, including a league-leading and career high in blocks (193 total), led him to donate $96,500 to Next Door as part of the program.

Additionally, for the second consecutive year, Lopez partnered with Scholastic Book Fair to bring book fairs to five Milwaukee Public Schools.  All five schools selected are Title 1 schools that have never had a Scholastic Book Fair. Lopez’s contributions allowed each student at all five schools to select and keep five books, totaling close to 10,000 books for more than 2,000 students and roughly $75,000. Lopez also ensured that the schools were set up to receive Scholastic Dollars, so they can purchase new books for the school libraries. 

"Brook Fair" at Marvin E. Pratt Elementary

"Reading is a personal passion of mine that both brings me joy and has played a key role in my success," said Lopez, per the release. "Throughout my career, I have remained committed to supporting youth literacy initiatives because I know firsthand how important this skill is. Whether on the road or learning new plays, reading has always played a key role in my life. I want to ensure future generations are able to develop this skill, too, and fall in love with reading just as I have – especially kids in economically disadvantaged school and communities."

Lopez will be recognized during an on-court ceremony before Game 2 of the Bucks-Heat game Wednesday, April 19.  Bucks’ President Peter Feigin, Lopez’s fiancé, Hailee Strickland, and his mother, Debby Ledford will present him with the award. The NBA will donate $10,000 to the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation.