NBA Legend Honored With Social Justice Award

The NBA wanted to honor athletes with the new social justice award named after basketball legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Award will be awarded to a current NBA player for pursuing social justice while upholding the league’s values of inclusion, equality, and respect.  

Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA championship title holder and Hall of Famer but is well-known for his social justice work over the years. He was praised by Commissioner Adam Silver, saying Abdul-Jabbar has “devoted much of his life to advocating for equality and social justice.” Abdul-Jabbar’s past fighting for social justice started when he protested joining the draft for the Vietnam War.  

Abdul-Jabbar also declined to play for Team USA in the 1968 Olympics opposing the Olympic Committee president. Abdul-Jabbar refused to participate in the Olympics because of the president of the Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage, who refused to let Jewish athletes compete in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin to avoid conflict with the Nazi party.

Each NBA team will nominate one player, with Abdul-Jabbar leading the selection committee that will meet once a year to choose five finalists. The top five finalists will get the chance to contribute to an organization of choice, with the winner earning a $100,000 contribution and the other four finalists will get a $25,000 contribution. The first winner and finalists for this award will be announced in late 2021.

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