Thursday, April 16th, 2009 at 11:20 am  |  42 responses

Brandon Jennings gets his charity on

Current SLAM cover subject Brandon Jennings, famously spending this season in Rome, has endeared himself to Italians with a generous donation to the earthquake victims. Check the press release below…


(WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 16, 2009) Brandon Jennings, a 19-year-old American professional basketball player for Lottomatica Roma in Italy’s Lega A1 Euroleague, will donate $50,000 to the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF)/Abruzzo Relief Fund. Immediately following the news of the earthquake, the Foundation established a special NIAF/Abruzzo Relief Fund to help the victims and their families who perished from the earthquake in the town of L’Aquila and other small towns in central Italy in the region of Abruzzo.

“After living in Rome this year, my family has found a second home.  When I heard about the devastation of the earthquake I knew I had to do something,” Jennings said. “Growing up in Southern California, I am no stranger to earthquakes and after seeing on television and on the internet how many people died and how many families lost everything, I wanted to do my part,” Jennings added.

“It’s extraordinary to see a young man who is new to Italy respond so quickly and reach out with such a generous donation to make a difference in the lives of so many of those families that are suffering from the devastating earthquake,” NIAF Acting Chairman Jerry Colangelo said.

Jennings forwent college to begin his professional basketball career in Rome, Italy.  He was the 2008 Naismith Male Player of the Year, 2008 Parade Magazine Player of the Year, 2008 EA Sports Player of the Year, 2007-08 MaxPreps National Player of the Year, a 2008 McDonald’s All-American and the 2008 number one ranked high school senior by ESPN.  He attended high school at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia where he averaged 32.7 points, 7.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 5.0 steals in his senior season.  A native of Compton, California, Jennings now resides in Rome with his mother Alice Knox and his 13-year-old brother, Terrence Phillips.

Individuals, corporations and foundations who wish to donate to the NIAF/Abruzzo Relief Fund can make their donations online atwww.niaf.org/relief. All donations are tax deductible. Every dollar contributed will go directly to the victims. For more information about NIAF’s efforts in L’Aquila and its neighboring towns, visit www.niaf.org/relief  for the latest updates.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Americans of Italian descent.

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  • Fleezy


  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    I’m now a fan. He really didn’t have to do this. But he did. Props.

  • Hussman25

    Good Look… May look like a good PR move, but since he is residing in Italy I see it as a way to show the good people of Italy he was there for all the right reasons… Nice note to leave on Brandon… see you in June back stateside!

  • ti-sizz

    great to see him giving back for a good cause.. cant wait to see him perform in the league next year. is he reallly as good as advertised??? how will his performance be against the best in the business…..

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Izzo

    Kudos.Classy guy.

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    Why hasn’t Blake Griffin given $50,000 to anyone?

  • http://where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com B. Long

    @Mo:Apparently OU doesn’t pay as much as it did during the Switzer Era.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Great line, B.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    It is a PR move, but it’s also the right move. Nice work, Brandon.

  • kwame

    has been my fav player for years now…and this affirms it…can’t wait till he’s back in the states

  • CHE

    Very admirable. Putting his money where his mouth is. And to be so young with that kind of integrity. I don’t buy or wear jersey’s anymore but when he makes it to the nba I will purchase his.

  • daniel

    very very good move. good to see a young guy doing that.

    btw, did anyone at SLAM ever write that annual article about which guys are and aren’t franchise players for this year?

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    I’m B. Long’ set-up man. And Ryan, as somebody that works in that industry, you can still feel good about doing good, even if other motives are attached. It’s one of those ‘have your cake and eat it too’ days.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    Great PR stunt

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Good for him. I think more of these guys should do it.

  • Josh D

    When your nineteen i guess you don’t spend $50,000 on PR

  • CHE

    It’s sad when someone does something this nice and people hate on him by saying it’s PR stunt. Everyone HAS to have a hidden agenda behind a nice gesture? Is it too hard to believe someone actually cares about another human being? I don’t think just because you have money that changes how you feel and react to people losing their lives.

  • Jeronimo

    Co-sign CHE’s comment at 4:00 pm

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    CHE: I don’t think most (any?) of us are hating. The text of this post is taken verbatim FROM A PRESS RELEASE. People are actively promoting Brandon’s good work. That’s fine. Again, it’s the good work that counts. Acknowledging the blatant PR angle doesn’t change that fact.

  • seppo

    A real class act. I gained a lot of respect for Jennings.

  • miggy

    class act. i commend his mother for raising a guy like him. i also commend slam for choosing him for the cover. now good luck in the draft!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    My bad. Mendel was hating. I missed that.

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  • 888

    Jennings > Rubio.
    Jennings is awesome.
    Great job.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    I was not hating. I am not a hater nor do i consume haterade or gatoraide for that matter. As a matter of fact if the money was given only for the reason of publicity I think his handlers deserve a lot of credit. Its a win win situation. No matter what, the charity was given and that fact remains the same. The draft is upon us and besides basketball in the business sense, a team may draft him over another simply because they see more then a court star but someone who will be a face of the organization in the teams community and be civicly engaged, and also have the new poster boy of NBA Cares. After all Grant Hill and Deke are about gone need to be replaced very soon. So all you bleeding left fielders can chill out.

  • http://myspace.com/2grownup2beshownup Jack

    I really want Denver to get this kid, I know it won’t happen though.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I think the word “stunt” gives you away.
    Farmer Jones,
    Left Field, PA

  • Jim

    Mendel- I understand why you’re cynical but there isn’t that much for
    Jennings to gain by doing this. Look at it this way- if comes in and kicks ass in the NBA he’s going to sell alot of merchandise… if he busts- he won’t. This move isn’t likely to affect his draft position much, if at all. Seriously would you, as a GM, draft based on how nice a “humanitarian” a player is??? He can’t make any more money in the next 3-4 years than his draft position (other than endorsements..etc…which will be dictated by his on court success).
    The odds that the NBA is behind this is even less likely- seeing as how his going overseas was a direct slap in David Stern’s face (and Miles Brand’s). His profile as an up and comer, despite his draft ranking, just isn’t high enough for anyone at the league office to give a crap about making him look good. Sorry for the length of this rant….

  • http://aol.com truf

    Okay, okay. I am buying the newest issue.

  • Jacob

    sweet! go Brandon Jennings!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    truf, what were you waiting for?

  • http://www.broy7.com/roy/index nate the great

    Iv liked Jennings for awhile now, even though i thought he was a punk a$$, with great handles.. this though, this really changed my look on this kid. He is now not only a great basketball player, but a nice caring person, who actually cares for one another, to be honest i thought he was like a carmelo, or k-mart. according to a name im not going to release, those two players are “thuggish” which i neccisarly not going to agreey on.. But other than that, nice move Brandon.

  • Andrew

    CHE: admirable as it may be to buy a jersey to support a dude who supports a charity, maybe the hundred or so you spend on a jersey could be better spent donating to the relief fund Jennings donated to…. just a thought…

  • http://www.broy7.com/roy/index nate the great

    yeah, andrew has a good case.

  • http://www.basketballjerseyworld.com nba-jersey-king

    good move by the kid, fk the haters

  • http://www.goldengatehotelvegas.com GoldenGateHotelVegas

    yup, well done

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Good move, as has been said, but nobody thought it was mildly funny his brothers name is Terrence Phillips? Oh well.

  • http://www.for-sports-sake.blogspot.com/ Faz

    Regardless of whether it was a PR stunt. He did a great thing. He should be commended and respected for that. When and 19 year old is willing to give 50k to a worthy cause, I think he should only receive praise. Most of ya’ll won’t even give a dollar a day to the 3rd world. What right does anybody have to smear such generosity? Well done Brandon!

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Well played young man. Well played. L’Aquila is hurting right now after that tragedy. People are homeless, and have lost everything. Very nice gesture on Brandon’s part.

  • Paul C.

    The way I see it, he could have spent the money to hype himself in a variety of ways. Instead he spent the money actually helping people. Even if (hypothetically) it is strictly a PR stunt, it does show that he wants to be viewed in the *right* light. Not everybody chooses to portray themselves as a good samaritan, and actually put their money where their mouth is. And the bottem line is, a cause greater than himself stands to benefit. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Jennings reads through these comments. If so, nice work sir.

  • RedRum

    Say if he reaally wanted to to part with this money, and not make a PR stunt, he could have just giv4en the money secretly… As I always say, charity happens first to ease the pain in ourselves and then in those who benefit from the charity…

  • Cizzo

    He cares that extreme sign of maturity Bandon Jennngs!