NBA honors Carmelo Anthony for his social justice initiatives

NBA honors Carmelo Anthony for his social justice initiatives
Carmelo Anthony (Photo credit: / lev radin)

As the NBA finals kick off on July 6 with the Phoenix Suns competing against the Milwaukee Bucks, the league has announced that Carmelo Anthony is the recipient of the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

The NBA highlighted Anthony’s entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors and, according to a statement provided to ESPN, he 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 systemically disadvantaged.”

The NBA announced the creation of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award on May 13. The new annual honor was created to recognize a player for pursuing social justice and upholding the league’s decades-long values of equality, respect and inclusion.

“It’s such an honor. I’m lucky to be 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 or systematically disadvantaged and do their part in making equality and justice for all,” Anthony told ESPN’s “The Undefeated.”

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson were all finalists up for the trophy.

As the winner, Anthony was able to select an organization to receive a $100,000 contribution on his behalf. The 10-time NBA All-Star chose Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative to receive the gift. Charities also were given $25,000 each on behalf of Barnes, Harris, Holiday and Toscano-Anderson.

Anthony partnered with Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul and former NBA star Dwyane Wade in July 2020 to create the Social Change Fund. The nonprofit addresses social and economic justice issues facing Black communities and breaks down discriminatory barriers to success. Proceeds from the fund were donated to support organizations working on critical issues impacting Black communities.

“Humbled, honored, and motivated to live up to the namesake of this inaugural award. I can promise that I’ll continue to carry the torch and shine a light in the places that need it most. #STAYME7O,” Anthony posted on Instagram about receiving the honor.

NBA honors Carmelo Anthony for his social justice initiatives
(Image source: Instagram – @carmeloanthony)
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