Over the past year, The NBA has been a primary catalyst for the social justice movement in the US. Carmelo Anthony is one of the biggest voices behind the movement. In recognition of his efforts, yesterday the NBA awarded Carmelo with the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.
Anthony, a 10-time NBA All-Star, is an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, and was selected “for his dedication over the past year to pursuing social justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systematically disadvantaged,” said the NBA.
As the winner, Anthony selected Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative to receive the $100,000 cash prize.
“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 or systematically disadvantaged, and do their part in making equality and justice for all,” Anthony told The Undefeated.
Anthony partnered with Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul and former NBA star Dwyane Wade to establish the Social Change Fund in July 2020. The fund addresses social and economic justice issues affecting Black communities and eliminates discriminatory barriers to success.
Anthony has spearheaded critical issues such as criminal justice reform and inclusion, advocating for the human rights of all Black lives, expanding voter registration and civic engagement, increasing Black representation in government, and promoting economic equity in communities of color through investments in education, employment, wages, and housing.
Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson were also finalists for Jabar’s award and received $25,000 to donate to their charity of choice.
Anthony was chosen as the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion by a selection committee comprised of Abdul-Jabbar; Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport; student activist Teyonna Lofton; Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League; Janet Murgua, president and CEO of UnidosUS; Amanda Nguyen, founder and CEO of Rise; and NBA deputy commissioner and COO Mark Tatum.