Portland Trailblazers Forward Carmelo Anthony has won the NBA's inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award. Anthony was selected because of "his dedication over the past year to pursuing social justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar's life mission to engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged."
"It's such an honor," Anthony said.
"I'm lucky to be part of a league full of players who are equally as passionate about making a difference. So, I'm truly humbled to be recognized by Kareem and the selection committee. It's my hope that this award encourages others to help uplift those who have been historically marginalized or systematically disadvantaged, and do their part in making equality and justice for all."
As the winner, the NBA has awarded the future Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee $100,000 to donate to a charity of his choosing. The former New York Knicks forward has decided to gift the $100,000 grant to the Portland Art Museum's Black Arts and Experiences Initiative. In addition, the NBA has awarded four other honorees, Tobias Harris, Harrison Barnes, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Jrue Holiday, with $25,000 to donate to a charity of their choosing.
In addition to donating $100,000 to the Portland Art Museum, Anthony will also work with Abdul-Jabbar to design a trophy for future recipients. The two will collaborate with a group of emerging designers from the Marcus Graham Project to bring their vision to life.
"Kareem is an all-around legend," Anthony added.
"His contributions on the court are next level, and off the court he has dedicated his life to the fight for equality and made it his mission to drive positive change in our society. He leads by example, and he inspires myself and so many others to do the same in our own lives. It was an honor and a blessing to even be considered as a finalist for this award by Kareem."