The NBA is creating a new annual award that will be named after one of the game’s legends.
The “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion” award will acknowledge a current player who advocates for social justice and campaigns for diversity and inclusion.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks icon has made it a priority throughout his life to fight for racial equality and improve race relations.
“I was really very honored to be chosen to have the award named after me,” Abdul-Jabbar told Yahoo Sports. As a kid, I was motivated by some of the people that you just mentioned like Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, these are people that motivated me.”
The winner of the newly created award will select an organization to be presented with $100,000 on his behalf. The four other finalists will be awarded $25,000 each to give to an organization of their choosing.
A seven-member committee consisting of NBA legends, executives and justice leaders will select the five finalists. All 30 NBA teams will nominate one player for the award.
The NBA is further demonstrating how it's encouraging players to speak out and act on creating positive change with players being empowered and afforded the necessary resources to enact progress.
Abdul-Jabbar, 74, a six-time NBA champion and the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, joined the “Posted Up with Chris Haynes Podcast” to give his thoughts on the award, on if big men still have the same impact in today’s game, his relationship with Bruce Lee, and he gave his assessment of the Lakers’ injury predicament heading into the play-in game.
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