It was announced on Friday morning that Portland Trail Blazers’ Carmelo Anthony, Sacramento Kings’ Harrison Barnes, Milwaukee Bucks’ Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, and Golden State Warriors’ Juan Toscano-Anderson are the finalists for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award.


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The award, named after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the league’s all-time leading scorer, is given to the player who best embodies Abdul-Jabbar’s message of civil rights, Black empowerment, and racial equality.

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.

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Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade created the Social Change Fund in July 2020. The organization works to address social and economic issues facing Black communities. Anthony is also a member of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition. 

Barnes worked with Be.Woke.Vote, a voting campaign aimed at historically disenfranchised young people. He also pledged $200,000 to organizations and foundations that combat police brutality and racial inequality. 

Harris awarded $300,000, through the Tobias Harris Charitable Fund, to The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to recruit teachers from historically Black colleges and universities. 

Toscano-Anderson created the Journey to Achieve Foundation to help Black people across California and Mexico. He was also a part of the Warriors’ Voters Win campaign during the 2020 election. 

Holiday established the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund in response to COVID-19 and global anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd. The fund provided grants to 50 Black-owned businesses and Black-led organizations in New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles. 

The winner of the award will be announced before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. 

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