Carmelo Anthony has been awarded the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar trophy and was named the 2021 Social Justice Champion. The golden statuette was unveiled by the NBA and given to the Los Angeles Laker forward on Sunday (April 3) during a pregame ceremony and on-court presentation before tipoff during the Denver Nuggets matchup at Crypto.com Arena.
According to a press statement, “the honor recognizes a current NBA player for pursuing social justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and drive equality for historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged individuals and groups.”
“Carmelo has the consciousness of wanting to see good things happen,” shared Jabbar of Anthony’s honor with NBA. “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.”
As far as the actual trophy, it was designed by James Adams Jr., Jason Garrett, Vijay Singh, and Lacy Talley, four aspiring artists from the inaugural NBA Foundation grantee Marcus Graham Project and produced by artist Victor Solomon. It features a 3-D print of Abdul-Jabbar’s hands holding up these ideals in the form of a basketball globe, which according to the press statement represents the impact athletes and activists can have to use their platforms and advance social justice globally.
“They came to my house and shot photos of my hands. They took a couple rolls of film of my hands in that position. The result is magnificent. I told them they’ve got to make me a miniature,” remarked the NBA icon on the trophy’s creation.
The 2022 winner will be announced during the NBA postseason and will receive a $100,000 donation from the NBA for a social justice organization of their choosing. The other four finalists will each select an organization to receive a $25,000 contribution on their behalf.
Watch Carmelo Anthony’s ceremony below.