The NBA announced on Tuesday that Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony has been named the winner of the inaugural Kareem Abdul- Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.
The award was given to Anthony for his "dedication over the past year to pursuing social justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged."
Melo partnered with Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade in 2019 to help create the Social Change Fund. According to the official press release, the Social Change Fund "aims to address social and economic justice issues facing Black communities and break down the discriminatory barriers to success. Through the fund, Anthony is focused on critical issues including championing criminal justice reform and inclusion, advocating for the human rights of all Black lives, expanding access to voting and civic engagement, increasing Black representation in government, and building economic equity in communities of color through investment in education, employment, wages, and housing."
Melo also served as guest editor-in-chief for SLAM magazine’s special Social Justice last year. With Melo in charge, the issue featured names such as Abdul- Jabbar, Bill Russell and Sheryl Swoopes and helped bring attention to social issues. All proceeds from the sale of the issue were donated to support organizations that impact the Black community.
For winning the award $100,000 will be donated on Anthony’s behalf to the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative.