"I'm honored and grateful to be associated with this award that will recognize the dedicated and selfless people fighting to promote social justice for all marginalized people," Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said

By Nicholas Rice
May 13, 2021 12:45 PM
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is being recognized by the NBA in one very special way.

On Thursday, the National Basketball Association announced its social justice champion award, which the organization has named in honor of the 74-year-old sports legend.

Officially titled the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, the honor will "recognize a current NBA player for pursuing social justice and upholding the league's decades-long values of equality, respect and inclusion," the NBA said in a press release.

The honoree will also be an individual who "advanced Abdul-Jabbar's mission to drive change" and someone who "inspired others to reflect on injustice and take collective action in their communities over the previous year," the release added.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty

Each of the NBA's 30 teams will nominate one player to potentially be chosen for the honor.

The winner of the inaugural award will receive $100,000 from the league to donate to an organization of their own choosing, while four additional finalists will each receive $25,000, the league said.

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The finalists and the winner will be selected by a committee made up of "NBA legends, league executives and social justice leaders."

Details surrounding the first presentation of the award, including the finalists and winner, will be announced during the NBA's postseason.

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"I'm honored and grateful to be associated with this award that will recognize the dedicated and selfless people fighting to promote social justice for all marginalized people," Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement. "To me, it's another giant step in the right direction for the country and all people who value equality."

"In addition to being one of our greatest players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has devoted much of his life to advocating for equality and social justice," added NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  "With this new award, we are proud to recognize and celebrate NBA players who are using their influence to make an impact on their communities and our broader society."