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Carmelo Anthony wins NBA's inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award

Yahoo! Sports logo Yahoo! Sports 6/29/2021 Jason Owens

Carmelo Anthony was announced on Tuesday as the inaugural winner of the NBA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award.

The Portland Trail Blazers forward was selected for the award among fellow finalists Tobias Harris, Jrue Holiday, Harrison Barnes and Juan Toscano-Anderson. Per the NBA, the award honors efforts that advance "Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged."

Abdul-Jabbar announced the award on TNT on a video call alongside Anthony.

"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."

Carmelo Anthony's long history of social justice efforts

Anthony serves on the board for the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition and is a longtime vocal advocate of justice system reform and creating opportunities in Black communities. His Carmelo Anthony Foundation has focused on education, recreation and community outreach in underserved communities since 2005.

Carmelo Anthony was honored on Tuesday for his work in the community. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports Carmelo Anthony was honored on Tuesday for his work in the community. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Last summer, Anthony partnered with former NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade and Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul to create the Social Change Fund, which focuses on issues like voting access, criminal justice reform, investment and economic opportunity in Black communities and creating more Black representation in government. The fund was created amid the nation's racial reckoning in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

He's also led efforts in the Portland community since joining the Trail Blazers in 2019. Per the NBA, Anthony plays a key role in the Trail Blazers Racial Injustice Initiative, which has raised more than $200,000 for organizations fighting systemic racism. 

The award comes with a $100,000 contribution that Anthony has pledged to the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative.

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