Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony is a future member of the Basketball Hall of Fame whenever he is done playing in the NBA. Just this season, Anthony reached the top 10 of the NBA’s all-time scoring list and, in short, he lives in rarified air for his on-court accomplishments. On Tuesday, however, Anthony was honored for his work away from the hardwood and named as the NBA’s inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Justice Champion.
Earlier this month, Anthony was joined by Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, and Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson as the five finalists for the honor. As part of his win, the 37-year-old Anthony chose the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative to receive a $100,000 donation on his behalf. In the end, he was honored for what the NBA described as 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 or systemically disadvantaged.”
Among his incredible contributions off of the court within the last two decades since being drafted in 2003, Anthony partnered with Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade to create the Social Change Fund during the summer of 2020. Through that lens, he has championed criminal justice reform and inclusion, helped to expand voting access, and served as an advocate for marginalized communities. In addition, Anthony helped to raise awareness and stress the importance of the creation of a national holiday for Juneteenth, and his content company, Creative 7 productions, focuses on purposeful storytelling that highlights diverse voices.