Carmelo Anthony Inaugural Winner of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony has been awarded the NBA’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

The first-ever winner of the award, the 10-time All-Star chose the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative to receive a $100,000 donation on his behalf.

Per the NBA’s press release on May 13, the award “recognizes a current NBA player for pursuing social justice and upholding the league’s decades-long values of equality, respect and inclusion.”

The 37-year-old has instrumented volumes of change in the fight for social justice. In July of 2020, Anthony partnered with Suns guard Chris Paul and former star Dwyane Wade to create the Social Change Fund. Anthony also serves as a board member for the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition.

Anthony, who served as a guest editor for our Social Justice Issue back in August of 2020, most recently partnered with 94-year-old activist Opal Lee in March to raise awareness for Juneteenth and its advocacy to become a national holiday.

Tobias Harris, Harrison Barnes, Jrue Holiday and Juan Toscano-Anderson were the four runners-up and will each designate an organization to receive $25,000.

In the near future, Anthony and Abdul-Jabbar – who presented the award to Melo before Game 4 between the Bucks and Hawks – will develop and design a trophy that draws inspiration from both of their visions with the help of a team of emerging and diverse designers from the Marcus Graham Project.