Although the attention of the basketball world has been on the NBA playoffs, the league has continued to remain committed to the fight for social justice off the hardwood.
Friday, the NBA announced the five finalists for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award. Portland’s Carmelo Anthony, Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday and Golden State’s Juan Toscano-Anderson have been selected as the five finalists, which were determined by a committee of Abdul-Jabbar, 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.
Last month, the NBA announced the creation of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, which will annually honor a current player pursuing social justice. The award will go to the player that upholds its values of equality, diversity and inclusion, with the winner garnering an opportunity to select an organization to receive $100,000 on his behalf. The other four finalists for the award will also select an organization to receive a contribution of $25,000.
The winner of the award will be announced prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on TNT.