NBA

Dwyane Wade And the 10 Most Charitable NBA Players

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10 Most Charitable NBA Players

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA TODAY Sports

NBA players are among the highest paid in the sports world. Some MLB contracts easily dwarf NBA salaries thanks to the absence of a salary cap. But couple NBA salaries with the huge endorsement deals they score on the side and you have some of the wealthiest athletes in the world. Thankfully there are a handful of stars who love to give back just as much as they collect checks.

You can probably trace the trend of charitable causes in the NBA back to the mid-90s. The NBA brand was still searching for credible stars for a changing generation. The NBA's image makeover hit its zenith after the Brawl at The Palace. The NBA, suffering from a public relations nightmare, managed to right the ship--and the controversy--into a product that punished its stars for misconduct detrimental to the league while also taking a stand on a number of issues ripped from the headlines.

The NBA Cares Program works with over 30 charitable organizations that support causes like childhood obesity, diabetes, bullying and a number of programs that support minorities. The thankless work is often lost in the headlines of the day-to-day grind of the NBA. Which is what this article is all about.

Though there are many players that deserve to make this list I wanted to highlight the fact that most of these stars are among the biggest and best stars in the league and spend just as much time giving back to their communities. Here are my 10 picks for most charitable players in the NBA.

Karim Akbar is a Sacramento Kings columnist for Rant Sports For More Sacramento Kings News “Like” his page on Facebook Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem Or add him to your network on Google+.

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Dwyane Wade

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA TODAY Sports

Dwayne Wade has remained one of the league's most popular stars with his charitable work and his continued production even as he enters the twilight of his career. His Wade's World Foundation was created in 2003 and has partners ranging from Gatorade, the Miami Heat and Staples among others.

Wade has also won the KIA Community Assist Award for his commitment to community service.

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Rajon Rondo

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Robert Mayer - USA TODAY Sports

Balancing the life of basketball and trying to use your platform for good is a tough task. Some players prefer just one option. Others flourish at both ends. It's no wonder that Rajon Rondo--a prolific passer--is on this list for his assists off the court.

Rondo had plenty of time to devote to giving back as he recovered from a knee injury. Rondo's foundation supports at-risk youth in an effort to maximize their potential. The Rajon Rondo Foundation was created in 2009.

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Ronny Turiaf

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Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

Ronny Turiaf is a global ambassador for causes and won the NBA's Community Assist Award in 2010. He has represented the league's Basketball Beyond Borders event in Paris and Senegal, Africa. His foundation Heart To Heart was created in 2009. Ronny himself was treated for an enlarged heart, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Since then, he has dedicated his time and generosity to provide services that include heart screenings, EKG's and surgeries to those in need.

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Steve Nash

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Robert Hanashiro - USA TODAY Sports

Created in 2004, the Steve Nash Foundation assists the community with programs that benefit low-income families and at-risk youths. In 2007, Nash won USA TODAY's Most Caring Athlete award, an honor he shared with Dwyane Wade.

The foundation gives back to communities through various tours and tournaments in Canada, Phoenix and Los Angeles.

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Chris Paul

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Sam Sharpe - USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul and his charitable events have become the talk of Los Angeles since the star made the move west. Paul's annual golf and poker tournament draw a host of marquee actors and athletes--and their wallets--to support Paul's numerous causes every year. CP3 also assisted kids at Los Angeles' La Salle Elementary over the holidays to hand out supplies, toys and clothes.

With a megawatt smile and charming personality, Paul is the perfect face for good causes and his Chris Paul Foundation does a great job of it. Chris Paul created the foundation in 2005 in honor of his late grandfather. Chris Paul is a two-time winner of the NBA's Community Assist Award.

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Kevin Durant

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Mark L. Baer - USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant could never be the 'bad guy'. That's not only a trait he doesn't possess, it's something his mother Wanda Pratt would never let fly. Lucky for us she kept on him and Durant has become one of the NBA's most marketable stars behind LeBron James. But it's work off the court that has endeared him to all.

After a massive tornado whipped through Oklahoma in May 2013, Durant pledged $1 million to help with relief. In 2011, Durant teamed up with Nike to raise nearly $5 million for Parkinson's research. He is a rare breed of superstar and we are all the better for it.

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Ray Allen

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Robert Mayer - USA TODAY Sports

For Ray Allen and all the stars that comprise this list--and hopefully every athlete--that donates their time to charitable causes, it's more than lip service. For Allen, it's personal. Ray Allen's son Walker, 6, suffers from type one juvenile diabetes and it's a cause Allen has supported since.

The Ray Of Light foundation hosts numerous tournaments and luncheons in Miami, benefiting Juvenile Diabetic Research and the Diabetic Research Institute Foundation in hopes of finding a cure and eliminating insulin shots.

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LeBron James

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Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James may have played the villain when he took his talents to Miami, but he's always been generous with his time and money when it came to community. LeBron has also taken the lead on trying to keep kids in school with his series of PSA's on the subject.

The LeBron Family Foundation has over 20 partners including the Boys & Girls Club Of America.

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Shaquille O'Neal

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Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

When he isn't hawking diabetes in a can or ointments, you can find Shaquille O'Neal teaming up with Toys For Tots. O'Neal is no longer playing but easily makes the list based on his past and present commitment to giving back. The big man has spent many Christmases giving away toys to unsuspecting kids and children in a number of neighborhoods with the Boys & Girls Clubs.

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Carmelo Anthony

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Noah K. Murray - USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony has been committed to giving back from day one. With the national stage of New York under him, Anthony has become a devout philanthropist. In 2006, Carmelo was the only NBA Player on The Giving Back organization's 'Giving Back 30' report.

With donations reported at over $4 million to date, Anthony remains committed to community service and charity in neighborhoods around New York, Syracuse and Maryland.