/  04.05.2022

Carmelo Anthony‘s social justice efforts have earned him the title of NBA’s first-ever Social Justice Champion. On Sunday (April 3), ahead of the matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, the baller was awarded the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Trophy, which was presented by Abdul-Jabbar himself.

Anthony has been committed to pursuing social justice for most of his career but recently increased his efforts within the last few years. In 2020, he teamed up with Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade to launch the Social Change Fund United, which aims “to support critical and timely issues impacting the Black community,” including criminal justice reform, voting access and more. He served as guest editor-in-chief for SLAM magazine’s special Social Justice issue last summer and played a vital role in the Trail Blazers Racial Injustice Initiative, which has donated more than $200,000 to organizations fighting systemic racism.

Anthony also advocated for Juneteenth to become a national holiday before it was signed into law and featured in the Vera Institute of Justice’s campaign for criminal justice reform. He is currently on the board of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition and serves as co-founder of his content company, Creative 7 Productions, which was created to tell “inclusive, purpose-driven storytelling from diverse voices,” per the NBA.

Given his dedication to social justice, the Lakers star beat out five other finalists for the award, which honors Abdul-Jabbar‘s legacy and life mission to empower and fight for the rights of marginalized and systematically disadvantaged groups. The basketball legend admits he was impressed by Anthony’s long list of accomplishments.

“Carmelo has the consciousness of wanting to see good things happen,” he told NBA.com. “They just read a listing of the things that Carmelo has done, and I was surprised to hear the depth that it got into with advocating for good things with police reform, better educational opportunities and things of that nature that go a long way toward making a peaceful and thriving community.”

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