Charlotte’s Lamelo Ball Wins 2020-21 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award

PUBLISHED: Thu, 17 Jun 2021 10:04:55 GMT

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Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball is the recipient of the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the 2020-21 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA ( announced today.  He is the third player to win the annual award with Charlotte, joining Larry Johnson (1991-92) and Emeka Okafor (2004-05).

Ball received 84 first-place votes and earned 465 total points from a global panel of 99 sportswriters and broadcasters. Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards received the other 15 first-place votes and finished in second place with 309 points. Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton finished in third place with 114 points. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote. 

Ball averaged 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.59 steals in 28.8 minutes in 51 games (31 starts), leading all rookies in assists and steals and ranking second in points and rebounds.  He is the seventh rookie to average at least 15.0 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.50 steals in a season since steals became an official statistic in the 1973-74 season, joining Magic Johnson (1979-80), Penny Hardaway (1993-94), Steve Francis (1999-00), Chris Paul (2005-06), Michael Carter-Williams (2013-14) and Ben Simmons (2017-18).  Ball was one of two NBA players to reach all four of those averages this season, along with Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler.

On Jan. 9, Ball recorded 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against the Atlanta Hawks at 19 years, 140 days old, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to have a triple-double.  In other standout performances, Ball posted a career-high 34 points, eight assists and zero turnovers against the Utah Jazz on Feb. 5 in his third career start, and he had 30 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 1.  Despite missing 21 games with a wrist injury, Ball finished with the second-most assists (313) and third-most three-pointers made (92) by a rookie in Hornets history. 

Ball was selected as the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in each of the first three months of the season (December/January, February and March).  He was also named to the U.S. Team for the 2021 NBA Rising Stars rosters.

Charlotte selected Ball with the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.  Ball played for the Illawara Hawks of Australia’s National Basketball League during the 2019-20 season, where he was named the NBL Rookie of the Year.

The Kia NBA Rookie of the Year trophy is named in honor of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Eddie Gottlieb, one of the NBA’s founders.  Gottlieb coached the Philadelphia Warriors to the 1946-47 championship in the league’s first season.

The voting results for the 2020-21 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award are below.  The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm Ernst&Young LLP.  Complete ballots for each voter will be posted at after the announcement of all end-of-season awards. 


Player (Team)

1st Place Votes (5 Points)

2nd Place Votes (3 Points)

3rd Place Votes (1 Point)

Total Points

LaMelo Ball (Charlotte)





Anthony Edwards (Minnesota)





Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento)





Saddiq Bey (Detroit)





Below is the all-time list of recipients of the Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Award.


1952-53 – Don Meineke, Fort Wayne 1953-54 – Ray Felix, Baltimore 1954-55 – Bob Pettit, Milwaukee 1955-56 – Maurice Stokes, Rochester 1956-57 – Tom Heinsohn, Boston 1957-58 – Woody Sauldsberry, Philadelphia 1958-59 – Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis 1959-60 – Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 1960-61 – Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati 1961-62 – Walt Bellamy, Chicago 1962-63 – Terry Dischinger, Chicago 1963-64 – Jerry Lucas, Cincinnati 1964-65 – Willis Reed, New York 1965-66 – Rick Barry, San Francisco 1966-67 – Dave Bing, Detroit 1967-68 – Earl Monroe, Baltimore 1968-69 – Wes Unseld, Baltimore 1969-70 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee 1970-71 – Dave Cowens, Boston (tie) Geoff Petrie, Portland (tie) 1971-72 – Sidney Wicks, Portland 1972-73 – Bob McAdoo, Buffalo 1973-74 – Ernie DiGregorio, Buffalo 1974-75 – Jamaal Wilkes, Golden State 1975-76 – Alvan Adams, Phoenix 1976-77 – Adrian Dantley, Buffalo

1977-78 – Walter Davis, Phoenix 1978-79 – Phil Ford, Kansas City 1979-80 – Larry Bird, Boston 1980-81 – Darrell Griffith, Utah 1981-82 – Buck Williams, New Jersey 1982-83 – Terry Cummings, San Diego 1983-84 – Ralph Sampson, Houston 1984-85 – Michael Jordan, Chicago 1985-86 – Patrick Ewing, New York 1986-87 – Chuck Person, Indiana 1987-88 – Mark Jackson, New York 1988-89 – Mitch Richmond, Golden State 1989-90 – David Robinson, San Antonio 1990-91 – Derrick Coleman, New Jersey 1991-92 – Larry Johnson, Charlotte 1992-93 – Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando 1993-94 – Chris Webber, Golden State 1994-95 – Grant Hill, Detroit (tie) Jason Kidd, Dallas (tie) 1995-96 – Damon Stoudamire, Toronto 1996-97 – Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 1997-98 – Tim Duncan, San Antonio 1998-99 – Vince Carter, Toronto 1999-00 – Elton Brand, Chicago (tie) Steve Francis, Houston (tie)      2000-01 – Mike Miller, Orlando

2001-02 – Pau Gasol, Memphis 2002-03 – Amar’e Stoudemire, Phoenix 2003-04 – LeBron James, Cleveland 2004-05 – Emeka Okafor, Charlotte 2005-06 – Chris Paul, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 2006-07 – Brandon Roy, Portland 2007-08 – Kevin Durant, Seattle 2008-09 – Derrick Rose, Chicago 2009-10 – Tyreke Evans, Sacramento 2010-11 – Blake Griffin, LA Clippers 2011-12 – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland 2012-13 – Damian Lillard, Portland 2013-14 – Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 2014-15 – Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota 2015-16 – Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota 2016-17 – Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee 2017-18 – Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 2018-19 – Luka Dončić, Dallas 2019-20 – Ja Morant, Memphis 2020-21 – LaMelo Ball, Charlotte

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of National Basketball Association (NBA).

About Kia America: Headquartered in Irvine, California, Kia America continues to top quality surveys and is recognized as one of the 100 Best Global Brands.  Kia serves as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA and offers a complete range of vehicles sold through a network of more than 750 dealers in the U.S., including cars and SUVs proudly assembled in America.*

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