On June 29th, the NBA announced Carmelo Anthony as its inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion. Anthony was selected from a group of five finalists 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.
The two NBA icons appeared together on NBA on TNT where Abdul-Jabbar presented the honors to Anthony.
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Of the honor Anthony said:
“I’ve received a lot awards throughout my life, throughout my career,” Anthony said. “This award right here, means a lot more than any other award I’ve received. I say that because of the times that we’re in, what we’re dealing with in our country, what we’re dealing with around the world — and also in our community, the Black community.”
Yet, if you think the social activism and community building work is recent. Think again. Anthony has spent his entire career championing social change. His Carmelo Anthony Foundation, founded by him over 15 years ago serves as a vehicle for social reform through a variety of outreach programs, disaster relief initiatives and donations. Anthony’s foundation provided relief and aid to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, as well as, invested in youth programs and the building of basketball courts on the island. But Carmelo is not afraid to go front and center for his causes. If you recall, he along with LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade were the fab four that opened the 2016 ESPY’s calling for change in community policing in race relations in connection with the Black Lives Matter movement.
2020 and 2021 simply saw Anthony continue to build on decades of social activism. In, July 2020, he partnered again Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade to create the Social Change Fund. The mission of the Fund is to address social and economic justice issues facing Black communities and break down the discriminatory barriers to success. In March of 2021, he partnered with 94-year-old activist Ms. Opal Lee to raise awareness of Juneteenth and advocate for the day to become a national holiday, which was ultimately signed into law this month through the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.
As part of the current honor Anthony has selected the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative to receive a $100,000 contribution on his behalf.
Keep up the good work Melo!