PORTLAND – The Portland Trail Blazers have named center Enes Kanter as the recipient of the 2020-21 Maurice Lucas Award, the team announced today.
The annual award was created in 2010-11 to honor the Trail Blazers player who best represents the indomitable spirit of Maurice Lucas through his contributions on and off the court, as well as in support of his teammates and the organization. In recognition of the award, the Trail Blazers will make a $5,000 donation to the Turkish Cultural Center, Kanter’s charity of choice.
“Enes is the consummate teammate,” said Neil Olshey, Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations. “The energy, toughness and selflessness with which he approaches the game make him an ideal recipient of the Maurice Lucas award.”
The Turkish Cultural Center is a 501(c)(3) charitable, cultural, and educational organization dedicated to fostering peace, dialogue, and friendship through Turkish history, art, culture, and tradition. The Turkish Cultural Center is a non-political, non-governmental, not-for-profit civic entity that was established in 2006 by Turkish Americans that want to promote a strong Turkish American friendship as well as peace throughout the world. The Turkish Cultural Center serves all members of the community regardless of age, race, color, religion, creed, citizenship status, marital status, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other protected status under applicable law.
“This award is extremely special to our team and organization, and Enes embodies its meaning perfectly,” said Chris McGowan, President & CEO of the Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter. “Enes contributes positively both on and off the court, adding to the well-established team culture that we strive for, just as Maurice Lucas did as a Trail Blazer.”
After manning the middle during the Trail Blazers run to the 2019 Western Conference Finals, Kanter returned to Portland from Boston ahead of the 2020-21 season as part of a three-team trade. Kanter was the only player to appear in all 72 games for the Trail Blazers this season, making 32 starts and posting averages of 11.2 points (60.4% FG, 77.4% FT), 11.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He recorded a team-high 34 double-doubles, the 10th most in the league, and ranked seventh in rebounding and ninth in field goal percentage among NBA leaders. On April 10 against Detroit, Kanter broke Sidney Wicks’ franchise rebounding record with 30 total rebounds and set a new franchise-mark with 12 offensive boards. It was the fourth time in the last 20 seasons that an NBA player had 30 or more rebounds in a game.
“It is my great honor to present the 2021 Maurice Lucas Award to Enes Kanter, a player whose values include a strong faith, family, teammates and community,” said Pam Lucas, widow of Maurice Lucas. “The spirit and leadership that Enes embraces is the same as my husband inspired, which makes him an ideal choice for this honor.”
Former Trail Blazers All-Star Maurice Lucas passed away on October 31, 2010 at the age of 58. A beloved member of the franchise and the community, “The Enforcer” was a central figure on the Trail Blazers 1976-77 NBA Championship team. The Trail Blazers honored Lucas by retiring his uniform number (No. 20) on November 4, 1988.
Lucas averaged 15.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.72 blocked shots over five seasons (1976-80, 1987-88) as a Trail Blazer. During Portland’s 1976-77 NBA Championship season, Lucas led the team in scoring (20.2), field goals made (8.0), free throws made (4.2), offensive rebounds (2.4) and minutes (36.2). Selected to the All-Star Game in three straight seasons from 1977-79, Lucas is one of six three-time All-Stars in Trail Blazers history (Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Clyde Drexler, Brandon Roy, Sidney Wicks). He served as an assistant coach with the Trail Blazers for five seasons from 2005-10, and previously in 1988-89.
MAURICE LUCAS AWARD WINNERS
2020-21 – Enes Kanter
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2019-20 – Carmelo Anthony
2018-19 – Jusuf Nurkic
2017-18 – Evan Turner
2016-17 – Al-Farouq Aminu
2015-16 – Ed Davis
2014-15 – LaMarcus Aldridge
2013-14 – Robin Lopez
2012-13 – Damian Lillard
2011-12 – Wesley Matthews
2010-11 – LaMarcus Aldridge