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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Luol Deng has never once forgotten home. He has spent much of his adult life trying to give back to his native South Sudan, the war-torn African nation the Cavaliers forward and his family fled when he was a young boy. And while Dengs contributions have touched many, he knows the work will never end. "I wish I could wake up tomorrow and nobody needs help," Deng said. "But we all know thats not going to happen. Im just happy to be in the position that Im in to be able to do the things that Im able to do." On Tuesday, Deng was commended for his compassion and dedication when he was named the winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, given annually to an NBA player, coach or trainer for outstanding community service. Deng has had a long commitment to philanthropic work in South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011 but has been ravaged by ethnic violence. The two-time All-Star, who came to Cleveland in a trade from Chicago in January, recently recorded a public service announcement for EnoughProject.org, urging peace in his homeland. In a video directed at the nations youth, Deng says, "Look around you, and reach out. Make peace among those who are fighting. Forgive one another and encourage others to forgive. Build trust with people who fear each other. You are young, and if you are wise, you will build bridges with people your age that will last a lifetime." The video is a small sample of Dengs attempts to help others. The 29-year-old also has established The Luol Deng Foundation, a global non-profit organization using basketball as a platform to bring hope to those less fortunate in Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. His work in Africa has focused on the construction of outdoor courts and initiatives to bring together local communities. His charity work in the U.S. has been focused primarily on his two NBA homes -- Chicago and Cleveland. He has funded holiday events in the cities, providing meals and toys to the needy. He has served as a mentor to the "Lost Boys of Sudan" and supported the NBAs "Basketball Without Borders" program. Deng is the third Cleveland player to win the award, joining Austin Carr (1979-80) and Eric Snow (2004-05). He also joins an illustrious list of past winners, including Dave Bing, Isiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Dikembe Mutombo, David Robinson, Kevin Garnett and Steve Nash. The award is named after the leagues second commissioner. Dengs journey to pro stardom is almost unbelievable. One of nine children, he and his family left Sudan and lived as refugees in Egypt before going to England. Cavs coach Mike Brown was fully aware of Dengs background before the forward came to Cleveland. Brown was thrilled that Deng was honoured. "Its well-deserved," Brown said after practice. "From what hes come from and his life experience is off the charts. He told me about it and I was touched. To see where he is now, and for him to know my job is not done, I was one of the fortunate ones. Because of where I am, I have a platform to help bring awareness for others. "Its a remarkable thing. I dont know how he does it. You applaud him. Obviously, you applaud his parents for raising him the way they did. Its an amazing story. I would be surprised if his life story doesnt turn into a Hollywood movie deal someday. Its that special." Deng finds greater reward in helping others. "Its one of those things when I talk to my parents about it, theyll be very proud," said Deng, who has been slowed by a sore back. "I dont have any kids, but its one of those things where, when you have a kid and your kid calls home and tells the parents what award he won, theyll be proud that theyve done a good job. "Its all about helping other people and just doing what makes you happy in life." 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The last team in the NBA that will have any sympathy for the Thunder is the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are showing signs of putting everything together after two years of devastating injuries.Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Hoppertunity, ridden by Martin Garcia, gained the lead at the top of the stretch and rolled on to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a fifth crown in Saturdays $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita. Hoppertunity, owned by Karl Watson, Michael Pegram and Paul Weitman, went off as the 4-5 favorite in the 11-horse field with Majestic Harbor a distant 8-1 second choice. Leaving from post 2, Hoppertunity was never far off the pace in the 1 1/16- mile stakes. The 4-year-old colt was fourth up the backstretch and easily joined the front-runners on the final turn. Hoppertunity assumed the lead at the top of the stretch along the inside and drove to a 2 1/4-length victory over 12-1 longshot Appealing Tale with Blue Tone, at 27-1, third. Completing the order of finish were Tonito M., Big Cazanova, Bronzo, Quadrivium, Majestic Harbor, Mr. Commons, Salto Del Indio and Baccelo. The time for the San Pasqual on a fast track was 1:41.69. The win is the fifth for Bafffert in the San Pasqual.dddddddddddd The Hall of Fame trainer previously won the prep for the Santa Anita Handicap with Silver Charm (1999), Wooden Phone (2002), Congaree (2003) and Coil (2013). Hoppertunity, making his initial start as a 4-year-old, picked up $120,000 to increase his earnings to $1,070,675. The colt has now won half of his eight career starts with two seconds. Saturdays start came less than two months after Hoppertunity captured the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs to close out his 3-year-old campaign. Last year the colt also won the Rebel Stakes at Fair Grounds followed by a runner-up result to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby. Hoppertunity was scratched from the Kentucky Derby just days before the race with a quarter crack of a hoof and did not race again until Oct. 29 when he got second in an allowance race at Santa Anita. Hoppertunity returned $3.60, $2.80 and $2.40. Appealing Tale paid $9.00 and $7.60, and Blue Tone paid $8.60 to show. Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping ' ' '
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