The NBA announced Gasol had won the award Friday after a vote by members of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.
The Spanish 7-footer is the second straight Los Angeles player to win the award. Ron Artest was given the award last year for his work in mental health awareness before he changed his name to Metta World Peace.
Gasol has traveled the globe to raise awareness for UNICEF, primarily working on programs involving nutrition, education and health care for children.
He has worked for UNICEF for seven years. He also has strong ties to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, where he began his NBA career.