NBA social justice award is named after Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 2019
A new NBA award, named after Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, will honor players committed to community action, social change and justice.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision/Associated Press)

Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will have his name attached to a new annual NBA award honoring players committed to community action, social change and justice.

Each team will nominate one player from its roster for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, the winner being chosen by a committee of NBA legends, league executives and leaders in the social justice movement.

The winner will receive $100,000 to contribute to an organization of his choice. The other four finalists will win $25,000 to contribute to an organization.

“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 a legendary career that includes being the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, Abdul-Jabbar has added to his legacy with his lifetime involvement in activism. Abdul-Jabbar has written about social reform for a number of publications, including the Los Angeles Times.

“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,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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.”