The NBA has announced that Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Tobias Harris, Jrue Holiday and Juan Toscano-Anderson have been selected as the five finalists for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award. The new annual award, named after six-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, recognizes a current NBA player for 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 finalists for the award were selected from an impressive pool of NBA team nominees who have upheld the league’s decades-long values of equality, respect and inclusion. The finalists were determined by a selection committee composed of Abdul-Jabbar, notable social justice leaders, including Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport Dr. Richard Lapchick, student activist Teyonna Lofton, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, Rise Founder and CEO Amanda Nguyen, and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.
As previously announced, each finalist has selected an organization focused on advancing social justice that will receive a contribution on his behalf. The winner’s selection will receive a $100,000 donation and the other four finalists will each receive a $25,000 contribution for a social justice organization of their choosing.
The winner will be announced prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on TNT.