Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Now Has Social Justice Award Named In His Honor

Yesterday, the NBA announced the creation of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award. This is a new annual honor that recognizes a current NBA player that actively pursues and upholds the league’s standards for equality and inclusion. The award is named after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because of his well-documented contributions to the social justice movement throughout his life, even before basketball.

The winner of the award will also have the opportunity to select a charity or organization that will receive a $100,000 donation on their behalf. Additionally, the other four finalists of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award will receive a $25,000 grant to donate to an organization of their choice as well.

Kareem had this to say about the award named after him:

“I’m honored and grateful to be associated with this award that will recognize the dedicated and selfless people fighting to promote social justice for all marginalized people. To me, it’s another giant step in the right direction for the country and all people who value equality.”

The NBA Continues To Push For Equality With Kareem’s Award

One player will be nominated from each of the 30 teams, with the winners and finalists selected by a committee made up of NBA legends, league executives, and social justice leaders. This is just one of the NBA’s efforts for social justice in recent years. The NBA has shown that they value the voice of the players, both on and off the court which is one of the reasons the league has grown so much. Another big reason is the contributions from Adam Silver, who played a large part in the creation of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

“In addition to being one of our greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has devoted much of his life to advocating for equality and social justice,” Adam Silver said, “With this new award, we are proud to recognize and celebrate NBA players who are using their influence to make an impact on their communities and our broader society.”

The Original Social Justice Champion

Aside from being one of the most decorated players in NBA history, Abdul-Jabbar is almost equally as well-known for being a strong force in the social justice community. He even met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was just 17-years-old in Harlem, NY. Kareem was so inspired by MLK that he decided to devote much of his time outside of basketball to the social justice cause. He also attended the 1967 Cleveland Summit alongside Bill Russell, Jim Brown, and other prominent black athletes gathered to discuss Muhammad Ali’s refusal to participate in the Vietnam War.

Then, once Abdul-Jabbar retired he continued to give his time to the fight for equality. Back in 2016, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama, which is the highest honor a civilian can receive. On top of all of that, Kareem also founded the Skyhook Foundation in 2009, which provides STEM education opportunities to underserved communities. If all of that does not sum up what it means to be a great person, I’m not sure what does. Congratulations to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for yet another accomplishment in his legendary life and career, both as a former NBA player and member of the social justice community.

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