Grant Williams Receives Bill Russell Mentoring Legacy Award

Celtics player second recipient of the award, recognizing dedication to mentoring youth in Massachusetts
Jan 29, 2021 9:10 AM ET
Press Release

BOSTON, January 29, 2021 /3BL Media/ – MENTOR National, an organization dedicated to unifying mentoring across the nation, today announced the second recipient of The Bill Russell Mentoring Legacy Award, Grant Williams of the Boston Celtics. Through this award, MENTOR recognizes and honors Williams’ efforts to provide and support mentoring services to youth in Massachusetts, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and MENTOR have held a longstanding relationship since 2014 and have since connected thousands of mentors and mentees across the nation. 

Williams began a group mentoring program in April 2020, shortly after the NBA paused its 2019-2020 season, with six Massachusetts-based high school students - Josiris from Lawrence, Eden-Samuel from Brockton, Dante from Holyoke, Amiyr from Hyde Park, Moise from Mattapan and Dontay from Cambridge. 

"In conjunction with Thank Your Mentor Day, we’re thrilled to present Grant Williams with The Bill Russell Mentoring Legacy Award for all of his work with local youth and elevating the mission of mentoring,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR National. “This award honors mentors in our communities who dedicate their time and effort to supporting young people and helping them set and achieve their goals. Grant’s guidance and support for his mentees serves as a prime example of how each of us can give back to the community and set young adults on the path to a bright future.”  

From his hometown in Charlotte, North Carolina, Williams hosted weekly group sessions over Zoom. As the group got closer over their shared experiences, they connected with via social media and through text messages, relying on Williams and each other for support during this unprecedented year. In an interview with The Undefeated, Williams said that mentoring has been a big part of his life and credits his parents, grandfather, and basketball coaches as his mentors. 

“This award is such an honor, especially with Bill being such an idol of mine,” said Williams. “Thank you to my mentees, this wouldn’t be possible without you guys. All six of them made a mark on me and they know they can reach out anytime and we’ll keep having fun and continue to build and grow together.”  

Bill Russell helped found MENTOR more than 30 years ago and has remained committed to growing the mentoring field over the last 30 years.  As Russell received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from the ESPYs in 2019, he insisted on elevating the mentoring movement as part of the recognition.    

For more information about MENTOR National and to get involved, visit  


MENTOR is the unifying champion for quality youth mentoring in the United States. Our mission is to expand the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships nationwide. Potential is equally distributed; opportunity is not. A major driver of healthy development and opportunity is who you know and who’s in your corner. 30 years ago, MENTOR was created to expand that opportunity for young people by building a youth mentoring field and movement. The result: a more than 10-fold increase in young people in structured mentoring relationships. Today, we are the expert voice representing a movement that is diverse and broad and seeps into every aspect of daily life – meeting young people everywhere they are from schools to workplaces and beyond.  


Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) is committed to ensuring that every young person in the state has access to quality mentoring relationships, regardless of who they are or where they live. MMP is a statewide organization that partners with corporate, public, and philanthropic entities to drive critical resources to a network of more than 370 mentoring and youth-serving organizations, representing more than 50,000 young people.