The NBA announced Thursday that it’s creating a new annual honor that will recognize a current league player pursuing social justice. And it’s named after a basketball legend.
The recipient of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award will need to have advanced the six-time NBA champion’s mission to drive change and inspire others to reflect on injustice. The winner of the award will also need to have taken collective action in their communities over the previous year.
Throughout his career, Abdul-Jabbar has used his influence as a well-known athlete to engage on important social issues during the Civil Rights Movement, as well as helping underserved communities.
“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,” said Abdul-Jabbar in an NBA statement. “To me, it’s another giant step in the right direction for the country and all people who value equality.”
The NBA says the winner of the new award will be able to select an organization to receive a $100,000 contribution on his behalf. The other four finalists will each select an organization to receive a $25,000 contribution.
All 30 NBA teams will nominate one player from their roster to receive the award. The finalists and winner will be selected by a committee composed of NBA legends, league executives and social justice leaders.
This year’s finalists and winner will be announced during the postseason.