Carmelo Anthony becomes inaugural winner

“NBA announced the social justice champion award in honor of Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The award is for the individual who demonstrates a commitment to bringing awareness to social justice and inequalities.

Subsequently, NBA announced the top five finalists for the award with the winner declared on Tuesday.

NBA announced Carmelo Anthony as the inaugural winner of the NBA’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

He defeated four other finalists from different NBA teams and became the first player to win the award.

“It’s such an honor,” Carmelo Anthony told ESPN’s The Undefeated via email. 

Anthony chose Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative to receive a $100,000 contribution on his behalf. 

Anthony becomes the inaugural winner.

The efforts he puts inside the court, playing professional basketball for Portland Trail Blazers to better the team.

The same efforts he puts outside the court to better the lives of the people as much as he can.

And recognizing those efforts off the court, the NBA announced him the recipient of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

He received the award for his dedication over the past year in pursuing social justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission.

To engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who are historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged.

“First of all, I just want to say I’m honored, I’m blessed, I feel humbled to be the first recipient of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award,” Anthony said.

“Just that name alone, we all know what that stands for, we all know what Kareem stood for and what he stands for now.”

“So, for me to be receiving this award means so much more than a lot of other awards that I’ve ever received.”

Even though Anthony recognized and honored for his works for society just now.

His efforts to bring change in society began nearly two decades ago.

Carmelo Anthony’s work outside the court.

When he first founded the Carmelo Anthony Foundation.

As a vehicle for actionable change and social reform through a variety of outreach programs and disaster relief initiatives.

 Furthermore, in July 2020, he partnered with 11-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns and NBA legend Dwyane Wade.

To create the Social Change Fund with an aim.

And to address social and economic justice issues facing Black communities and break down the discriminatory barriers to success.

Through the fund, Anthony focused on critical issues such as criminal justice reform and inclusion, advocating for the human rights of all Black lives.

Likewise, expanding access to voting and civic engagement.

Along with increasing Black representation in government, and building economic equity in communities of color through investment in education, employment, wages, and housing.

Last summer, he also served as guest editor-in-chief for SLAM magazine’s special Social Justice issue.

That featured the game’s most influential activists, including Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, and Sheryl Swoopes. All proceeds donated through the Social Change Fund to support organizations working on critical issues impacting the Black community.

Anthony moving forward

Besides, playing basketball inside the court, Anthony continues to focus on social reform through the Carmelo Anthony Foundation.

In addition, his forthcoming memoir, “Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised” releases on September 14th, 2021.

It gives an insight into Anthony’s upbringing and draws attention to the social, health, and economic inequities in communities of color.

“We have a long way to go,” Anthony said. “But I do see progress, I see the trajectory going in a nice direction. And I just want to help keep it there. I just want to continue the conversations, continue talking to the people. And the most important thing is continuing to listen to people.

“Because when you listen closely, you’re going to hear something and you’re going to hear a lot of important gems and things.”

 “That you can actually take into consideration and move forward.”

He added, “So now, and even when I first got into the NBA, it was like, I have to give back to that community.

“I don’t want to do anything else until I give back to my community.”

“That’s how it started – just being a product of our environment, and understanding the needs and the wants of that community.”

Anthony and the other finalists donate their prize money.

He won the award amongst the other four finalists. The list of finalists includes Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, and Golden State’s Juan Toscano-Anderson.

Finalists announced for first Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award - REVOLT
Finalists announced for first Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award (source: revolt.tv)

Anthony received $100,000 and he donated it to Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative. 

Similarly, the other four finalists received $25,000 each and are free to give to a charity of their choice.

Kareem himself along with former NBA players, league executives, and social justice leaders. 

“Kareem is an all-around legend,” said Anthony, a six-time All-NBA team selection. “His contributions on the court are next level, and off the court, he has dedicated his life to the fight for equality and made it his mission to drive positive change in our society. He leads by example, and he inspires me and so many others to do the same in our own lives. It’s an honor and a blessing to even be considered as a finalist for this award by Kareem.”

He added, “I’m going to keep fighting for progress and using my resources in hopes that we will be able to create a future for the next generation where everyone is accepted and celebrated for being their truest self, regardless of who they are, what they look like or where they come from.”

Congratulation to Carmelo Anthony and all the other four finalists!!!

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