WASHINGTON, DC – April 9, 2020: Special Olympics International is excited to announce NBA All-Star Devin Booker as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador.
Booker’s younger sister Mya has 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, also known as DiGeorge syndrome, which is caused by a missing piece of chromosome 22. The deletion causes poor development of several body systems, which can result in mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. The Phoenix Suns guard has always supported his younger sister, and that sibling bond has inspired him to share his support for even more people with intellectual disabilities through Special Olympics.
“I’ve celebrated the accomplishments and witnessed the challenges my sister Mya has experienced as a person with intellectual disabilities. She motivates me every day, and I’m humbled to be part of Special Olympics, a global organization with a mission to help spread awareness about the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities,” Booker said.
Booker was selected as the 13th overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft after playing basketball one year for the University of Kentucky. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2016 after averaging 13.8 points per game. In 2017, Booker became the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 points, the youngest player to ever do so at the age of 20. His stats and leadership on the court for the Phoenix Suns continued to rise through 2018 and 2019, and Booker was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in February of 2020.
Devin Booker’s impact off the court has been equally impressive. He’s felt "right at home” being involved with Special Olympics Arizona since 2015, taking part in local clinics and making friendships with local athletes. In Spring of 2016, he invited his #1 fan Jenna Warren, who has Down syndrome, to join him in New York City for the NBA Draft Lottery. He surprised Special Olympics Arizona athlete Noah Smith with the same opportunity in 2017. In November 2019, Booker announced Special Olympics Arizona as one of the organizations included in the Devin Booker Starting 5 initiative, a 5-year program set to donate $500,000 annually to five different youth-serving nonprofit organizations in Arizona.
As a Special Olympics Global Ambassador, Booker will promote inclusion through sport, especially opportunities involving basketball while utilizing his reach with younger audiences through social media. He will continue to be involved with local and global opportunities as he has in the past, through activations with Special Olympics International, Special Olympics China, Special Olympics North America and Special Olympics Arizona.
Booker joins a star-studded list of Special Olympics Global Ambassadors, including current NBA and WNBA players Andre Drummond, Damian Lillard, Elena Delle Donne and Ricky Rubio, as well as NBA legends Dikembe Mutombo, Sam Perkins, and Yao Ming.
“Special Olympics is honored to name Devin Booker as our newest Global Ambassador,” said Special Olympics International CEO, Mary Davis. “People like Devin who have a sibling with intellectual disabilities possess inherent empathy for the population we serve. We are lucky to leverage his passion to inspire others around the world to join our all-out effort to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities.”
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, IKEA Foundation, the Lane Family, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions Clubs International, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org