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Hawks’ Bazemore receives Atlanta’s highest citizen honor

Kent Bazemore received the Phoenix Award - Atlanta’s highest citizen honor - for his achievements and service to the city. The award was presented by Mayor Kasim Reed in a ceremony at City Hall on Thursday.

The Hawks guard has been involved in many charitable efforts since he signed with the team in 2014. His ARMS Foundation is dedicated to providing disadvantaged youth a path to a quality education, athletic achievement and a healthy lifestyle.

“This is beyond amazing,” Bazemore said.

The Phoenix Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a citizen by the mayor’s office. In addition, Bazemore also received the President’s Volunteer Award, signed by former President Barack Obama, for his more than 1,000 hours of community volunteer services through his foundation.

“My biggest accomplishment before today was actually getting my two degrees (from Old Dominion University),” Bazemore said. “The NBA is something I’ve always wanted to do but it’s a stepping stone for bigger and better purposes. … I’m only getting started. My purpose on this earth is to empower people. My one goal in life is to empower a stranger, someone I never met before, that may come up to me one day and say I inspired them.”

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Bazemore was accompanied by his wife, Sam. In addition, Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins joined the ceremony.

Reed said Bazemore has already made a deep and lasting impact on the city in his short time here.

“He is world champion humanitarian,” Reed said. “He believe in investing in young people when the camera is on and when the camera is off. He knows firsthand what it takes to persist and to keep working. He understands hard work but he also understands dreams.”

Bazemore begins his fourth season with the Hawks. He remained with Atlanta last summer after signing a four-year deal as a free agent. The native of North Carolina worked his way into the NBA as an undrafted player and also played for the Warriors and Lakers before joining the Hawks.

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