MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Zach LaVine's work with a school for the deaf is bringing an added benefit he never saw coming - the chance to a new charity dedicated to his fallen coach.
LaVine was awarded the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for the month of April on Monday, an honor earned through LaVine's work with Metro Deaf School in St. Paul. LaVine makes periodic trips to the school throughout the year and donated a portion of his winnings from the Slam Dunk contest to build a new kitchen.
''Working with the Metro Deaf School this last year has been fun,'' LaVine said. ''The students and staff have become my friends. It's a relationship I'm going to continue and I appreciate the NBA for the recognition and their emphasis on community outreach.''
LaVine received $10,000 to donate to his charity of choice. He chose the Flip Saunders Legacy Fund, named in honor of the former Timberwolves coach who died in October.
''Flip drafted me and believed in me,'' LaVine said. ''We miss him every day. He was always in the community helping others so it felt right to donate to his legacy fund.''
LaVine is now eligible for the season-long award. The winner, determined by a combination of a fan vote and internal panel, will receive $25,000 to donate. Fans can vote on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags ZachLaVine and NBACommunityAssist.
''We are extremely grateful to Zach for this kind and generous donation,'' said Debbie Saunders, Flip's wife. ''The thoughtfulness of Zach, his teammates, and the Timberwolves organization is really appreciated. It's humbling to know that Zach has offered this to the fund in Flip's honor.''