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.


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.