Even though his off-the-court life might be a bit of a mess, on Tuesday, Portland Trail Blazers’ power forward Carmelo Anthony was named the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion by the NBA.
Although Anthony is wading through a divorce from his estranged wife, Power actress Lala Anthony after it was revealed that he allegedly fathered twins outside of his marriage, he has however made a name for himself as a champion for social justice causes.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the 10-time NBA All-Star was chosen 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 or systemically disadvantaged,” the NBA said.
“Humbled, honored, and motivated to live up to the namesake of this inaugural award,” Anthony wrote on Twitter. “I can promise that I’ll continue to carry the torch and shine a light in the places that need it most.”
Humbled, honored, and motivated to live up to the namesake of this inaugural award. I can promise that I’ll continue to carry the torch and shine a light in the places that need it most. #STAYME7O pic.twitter.com/t5H0H6Y8B5
— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) June 30, 2021
Social Justice Champion
Anthony has quite an impressive resume of achievements which certainly backs up why he was picked as a social justice champion.
Earlier this year Anthony teamed up with “Miss Juneteenth,” 94-year-old activist Opal Lee and rallied in March to raise awareness about Juneteenth in hopes that it would someday become a national holiday. The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was in fact signed into law by President Biden earlier this month.
Anthony, who has also played with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets, joined forced with his NBA peers Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns and former NBA star Dwyane Wade in July 2020 and started the Social Change Fund.
The organization promises to “invest in and support organizations that are working to liberate Black people and advocate for indigenous people and communities of color through the lens of policy solutions, community representation and narrative change,” according to the site.
The NBA star also lent his voice to the Vera Institute of Justice to promote criminal justice reform in a voice campaign. And the 36-year-old’s passion to create content led him to co-found the Creative 7 Productions, with his producing partner, business strategist Asani Swann. Projects on deck include an upcoming limited series called “Blood Brothers,” that centers on the kinship, friendship and brotherhood between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X.
Notably, Anthony was also the pivotal force behind the launch of the Trail Blazers Racial Injustice Initiative, which has awarded more than $200,000 in funding to organizations “fighting systemic racism.”
“We have a long way to go,” Anthony told NBA.com after winning the award. “But I do see progress, I see the trajectory going in a nice direction. And I just want to help keep it there. I just want to continue the conversations, continue talking to the people. And the most important thing is continuing to listen to people. Because when you listen closely, you’re going to hear something and you’re going to hear a lot of important gems and things that you can actually take into consideration and move forward.”
Anthony also plans to drop a memoir titled, “Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised,” Sept. 14, 2021.