NBA’s New Annual Recognition: The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Award

The NBA announced on Thursday the creation of a socially relevant recognition, the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award. The league will grant this new award every year to an active NBA player for “pursuing social justice and upholding the league’s decades-long values of equality, respect, and inclusion.”

The award presents a donation by the NBA of $100,000 to an organization chosen by the winner, and the four finalists will have $25,000 donated to each of their selected organizations.

Abdul-Jabbar is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. He 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.”

Adam Silver, an NBA Commissioner, commented on the award:

“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.”

Following the same process in the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the nomination for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award will come from each of the NBA’s 30 teams. A panel of NBA executives, basketball legends, and social justice leaders will then determine the finalists and winner.

The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion is one who advocates and addresses social justice issues. Something that Abdul-Jabbar has pursued throughout his life. His athletic accomplishments made him an icon, having won six NBA MVP awards and six NBA championships. In addition, he has achieved 19 All-Star awards during his basketball career. With 38,387 points over 1,560 games with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar is also the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.