NBA Creates New Social Justice Award
The NBA just announced that they will honor the social justice efforts taken on my current players with the creation of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.
According to a recent press release, the top winner of the award will select an organization to receive a $100,000 contribution on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s behalf. The other four finalists will each select an organization to receive a $25,000 contribution.
The six-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer said in a statement, “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.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also added, “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. 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.”
All 30 NBA teams will nominate one player from their roster to be the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion. The finalists and winner will be selected by a committee composed of NBA legends, league executives and social justice leaders.
Abdul-Jabbar was born in New York City. His government name was Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. but after converting to Islam in 1968, he took the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar first found success on the court in high school and continued that streak at the University of California Los Angeles, where he was twice named Player of the Year, in 1967 and 1969. He spent 20 successful years in the NBA, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. His accomplishments include six NBA championships and six Most Valuable Player awards. In 1989, at age 42, he retired as the NBA’s top scorer with 38,387 points; his numbers have yet to be beaten.
His activism truly began after meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was 17 years old. Subsequent meetings with other great athletes including Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Muhammad Ali further solidified his life-long mission to using his platform to help margenalized communities.