Carmelo Anthony becomes inaugural winner

“NBA unveiled the social justice champion award in honor of Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The prize is for the individual who exhibits a commitment to bringing awareness to social justice and inequities. Subsequently, NBA named the top five finalists for the award with the winner declared on Tuesday.

NBA honored Carmelo Anthony as the inaugural winner of the NBA’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

He defeated four other competitors from different NBA clubs and became the first player to receive the honor. “It’s such an honor,” Carmelo Anthony told ESPN’s The Undefeated via email.

Anthony chose Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative to accept a $100,000 contribution on his behalf.

Anthony becomes the inaugural winner.

The efforts he puts inside the court, playing professional basketball for Portland Trail Blazers to better the club.

The same efforts he puts outside the court to enrich the lives of the people as much as he can.

And honoring those efforts off the court, the NBA announced him the recipient of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

He won the honor for his efforts over the past year in achieving social justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life goal.

To engage, empower and drive equity for persons and groups who are historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged.

“First of all, I just want to say I’m honored, I’m fortunate, I feel humbled to be the first recipient of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award,” Anthony stated.

Humbled, honored, and motivated to live up to the namesake of this inaugural award. I can promise that I’ll continue to carry the torch and shine a light in the places that need it most. #STAYME7O

— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) June 30, 2021

“Just that name alone, we all know what that represents for, we all know what Kareem stood for and what he stands for now.”

“So, for me to be winning this award means so much more than a lot of other prizes that I’ve ever received.”

Even though Anthony recognized and honored for his contributions for society just today.

His efforts to foster change in society began roughly two decades ago.

Carmelo Anthony’s work outside the court.

When he first formed the Carmelo Anthony Foundation. As a medium for actionable change and social reform through a range of outreach activities and disaster relief projects.

Furthermore, in July 2020, he paired with 11-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns and NBA great Dwyane Wade.

To form the Social Change Fund with a purpose.

And to address social and economic justice challenges plaguing Black communities and break down the discriminatory barriers to achievement.

Through the fund, Anthony focuses on crucial problems such as criminal justice reform and inclusiveness, advocating for the human rights of all Black lives.

Likewise, improving access to voting and civic involvement.

Along with boosting Black participation in government, and building economic fairness in communities of color through investment in education, jobs, salaries, and housing.

Last summer, he also served as guest editor-in-chief for SLAM magazine’s special Social Justice issue.

That featured the game’s most powerful activists, including Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, and Sheryl Swoopes. All proceeds donated through the Social Change Fund to benefit groups working on crucial issues facing the Black community.

Anthony moving forward

Besides, playing basketball inside the court, Anthony continues to focus on social reform through the Carmelo Anthony Foundation.

In addition, his new memoir, “Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised” publishes on September 14th, 2021.

It gives a glimpse into Anthony’s upbringing and calls attention to the social, health, and economic disparities in communities of color.

“We have a long way to go,” Anthony added. “But I do see development, I see the trajectory going in a great manner. And I just want to help keep it there. I just want to continue the talks, continue talking to the folks. And the most essential thing is continuing to listen to people.

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“Because when you listen closely, you’re going to hear something and you’re going to hear a lot of essential nuggets and things.”

“That you can genuinely take into consideration and move forward.”

He said, “So today, and even when I initially got into the NBA, it was like, I had to give back to that community.

“I don’t want to do anything else until I give back to my community.”

“That’s how it started – just being a product of our environment, and recognizing the needs and the wants of that community.”

Anthony and the other finalists contribute their reward money.

He earned the honor amongst the other four finalists. The list of finalists includes Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, and Golden State’s Juan Toscano-Anderson.

Anthony earned $100,000 and he donated it to Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative.

Similarly, the other four finalists earned $25,000 apiece and are free to give to a charity of their choice.

Kareem himself along with former NBA players, league executives, and social justice leaders.

“Kareem is an all-around legend,” said Anthony, a six-time All-NBA team selection. “His achievements on the court are next level, and off the court, he has committed his life to the battle for equality and made it his mission to inspire constructive change in our society. He leads by example, and he encourages me and so many others to do the same in our own lives. It’s an honor and a blessing to even be selected as a finalist for this award by Kareem.”

He said, “I’m going to keep working for advancement and using my resources in hopes that we will be able to create a future for the next generation where everyone is accepted and celebrated for being their authentic self, regardless of who they are, what they look like or where they come from.”

Congratulation to Carmelo Anthony and all the other four finalists!!!