Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford was named the recipient of the second annual Washington Wizards Dr. E.B. Henderson Team Award. Gafford received the award as recognition for his work in the Washington, D.C. community. Last season’s recipient Anthony Gill delivered the news to Gafford yesterday.
“First off, I just want to give praise to the Man above for being in the position to where I can actually give back to the community,” stated Gafford. “There’s never a day that goes by that I don’t think about how someone around my city came and did it for me. Whether it was shoes, clothes, school supplies etc. I can only smile and be happy that I’m working to make a change in the world and make an impact in any community. Not just mine. At the end of the day, I’m here to be used as an example and an inspiration to kids and people across the world.”
During the 2022-23 season, Gafford was active in numerous team and community initiatives including the Wizards’ recent Mental Health Awareness Night where he held a discussion with Howard University ambassadors from Morgan’s Message. In celebration of Washington’s 25th anniversary season since rebranding to the Wizards name, Gafford also helped plant cherry blossom trees in Ward 8.
During the holiday season, Gafford’s presence in the DMV was consistent. He contributed and helped during Monumental Basketball’s Thankful Meals initiative and held the Gafford’s Jingle Ball Toy Drive in partnership with Off My Block (OMB) on December 11. The event provided 200 families with a hot meal, barbers and braiders, hygiene packages and clothing donations. Each child also received a toy gift.
Known as the “Grandfather of Black Basketball” in Washington, D.C., Dr. Henderson was a sports historian, educator, administrator, coach, athlete, and civil rights activist. He wrote over 3,000 letters to the editor for The Washington Post and other newspapers on civil rights and race relations.
Last February, the University of the District of Columbia renamed its athletics facility the Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson Sports Complex. Ted Leonsis, through the Leonsis Foundation, Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Washington Wizards, donated $200,000 to the fund which will support capital upgrades to the sports complex, student scholarships and sports camps for youth.