After decades of social activism during his playing days and in his post-career endeavors, it’s fitting that NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the namesake of the league’s newly-created award that will honor a player that emerges in the fight for social justice off the court.
Thursday, the NBA announced the creation of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, which will annually honor a current player pursuing social justice. The award will go to the player that upholds its values of equality, diversity and inclusion, with the winner garnering an opportunity to select an organization to receive $100,000 on his behalf. The other four finalists for the award will also select an organization to receive a contribution of $25,000. It’s more incentive for players to get involved in their respective communities and in the fight for equality, according to the league’s all-time leading scorer.
“I’m thrilled,” Abdul-Jabber said of the honor in an interview with NBA.com’s Michael C. Wright. “I’m very honored that the NBA would name the Social Justice Award after me. I hope it serves as an inspiration to the guys in the league now to see what they can do. I think when they start competing with each other to do good things in their communities, we’ll get a lot of positive results from that.
“You know, when you want things to change, the change never comes on time,” the six-time MVP and six-time NBA champion added. “It’s always late. It’s aways much later than you wanted it to come. But those moments do come, and you have to appreciate them when they do.”