Portland Trailblazers Star Carmelo Anthony is the winner of the first Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award.
The award, named after Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul- Jabbar, is given to the NBA player who best embodies his message of civil rights, Black empowerment, and racial equality.
Anthony was a finalist for the award alongside Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, and Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson.
As the first recipient, Anthony, will be awarded $100,000 that the league will donate to a social-injustice-focused organization of Anthony’s choosing.
The remaining four finalists will receive $25,000 donations. The five finalists were cut down from an original list of 30 nominees — one from each NBA team.
Anthony’s donation will reportedly go toward the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative.
“It’s such an honor,” Anthony said. I’m lucky to be a part of a league full of players who are equally as passionate about making a difference. So, I’m truly humbled to be recognized by Kareem and the selection committee.
It’s my hope that this award encourages others to help uplift those who have been historically marginalized and or systematically disadvantaged, and do their part in making equality and justice for all.”
Anthony’s efforts contributing to social justice are through the Social Change Fund that he, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul and former NBA Dwyane Wade created in July 2020.
The organization supports critical issues impacting Black communities through partnerships and investments to advocate for indigenous people and communities of color “through the lens of policy solutions, community representation and narrative change.”
Anthony has also established the STAYME7O Power Program for Black creative expression. He also launched Creative 7 in April, a production company focused on inclusive narratives and voices that have gone unheard, and is a board member of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition.
Props to a guy who has accomplished so much and contributed even more to the gane of basketball. A true legend.