The award, named after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, recognizes players who are making strides in the fight for social justice.
Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony is the NBA’s inaugural winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice award, the league announced on Tuesday.
Anthony, a 10-time NBA All-Star, earned the award for his dedication over the past year to social justice efforts as well uplifting Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and strive for equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged.
“This award right here means more than any of the other awards I’ve ever received,” Anthony said on the broadcast after winning the inaugural award.
Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time NBA champion, created the award to recognize players who are making strides in the fight for social justice. Anthony was selected for the award out of four other finalists, including Kings forward Harrison Barnes, 76ers forward Tobias Harris, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson.
Anthony will receive $100,000 for his charity, the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative. The other four finalists will each receive $25,000 for their respective charities.
Anthony played an integral role in helping Portland start the Trail Blazers Racial Injustice Initiative, an organization that provided more than $200,000 in funding to organizations to fight systematic racism.
Abdul-Jabbar has spent most of his life working as an activist and pushing for social justice. He attended The Cleveland Summit in June 1967 where he, Bill Russell, Jim Brown and other prominent Black athletes came together to talk with Muhammad Ali about his being a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. He also worked to help economically depressed areas improve schools.
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