NBA Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award
The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award which honors players who are making strides in the fight for social justice.
In 2009, Abdul-Jabbar created the Skyhook Foundation, aimed at providing educational STEAM opportunities to underserved communities. Donate now and receive a limited edition print by artist Charly Palmer.
Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Reggie Bullock has been named the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion.
“We are all one, and I believe love lies in everybody’s heart. It’s incredibly important to me as a cisgender athlete to stand in support of the trans and LGBTQ+ community.”—Reggie Bullock
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks
Reggie Bullock has been an avid advocate for LGBTQ equity throughout his NBA career, continuing his efforts with the Dallas Mavericks during the 2021-22 season. Following the 2014 murder of his sister Mia Henderson, who was transgender, Bullock has focused on acceptance of all people by working to create truly inclusive communities through neighborhood engagement and national efforts around the LGBTQ movement, including participating in the NYC Pride March, the GLAAD Media Awards and NBA events for LGBTQ youth and allies. Upon joining the Mavericks in August of 2021, he forged new relationships with organizations that work in the LGBTQ space in the greater Dallas area, including Abounding Prosperity, Dallas Southern Pride, House of Rebirth, The Black-Tie Dinner, the Resource Center and the Muhlashia Booker Foundation.
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet has been a leader and champion around social justice, inspiring teammates to find their own voice in his pursuit. To create equity in education, he created the Fred VanVleet Scholarship in Dec. 2021, a full academic scholarship for a Black or Indigenous student to pursue four years of higher education in Canada and receive mentorship from VanVleet to help shape the reality for the student after their academic career. Additionally, through the Heart of the City initiative, he distributed more than 1,000 backpacks to historically marginalized students throughout the Greater Toronto Area and provided them with the necessary resources to succeed academically.
Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks
During the 2021-22 season, Jrue Holiday continued to support Black-led organizations and Black-owned businesses in Milwaukee and beyond. Through the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Fund, Holiday has provided funding and support to minority businesses to address social and economic inequality that continues to prevent Black communities from upward mobility. In February 2022, he and his wife launched the third round of grant funding, committing another $1 million dollars to Black-owned business and nonprofits in Milwaukee, New Orleans, Indianapolis and Los Angeles.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
For the past several years, Jaren Jackson Jr. has been focused on advancing health and economic equity in Black and brown communities, creating women empowerment initiatives and increasing voter awareness. Understanding the pandemic’s impact on communities of color, Jackson Jr. has worked to provide custom masks for Black and brown families, supply PPE to communities, provide meals for those working at COVID testing locations and use his voice in the NBA’s COVID-19 PSA to encourage all to get vaccinated. Additionally, Jackson Jr. continues to support women’s empowerment initiatives and recently completed his third year as an ambassador for the Nike Game Growers Program, an exclusive opportunity for 7th and 8th grade girls to share their ideas on how to encourage more girls to play sports.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns has devoted his time, platform and resources to health equity and education since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and specifically this past season to advocate for vaccine education after experiencing personal loss. Towns worked with the NBA on a vaccine PSA released in Feb. 2022, Cue Health to provide 100 COVID-19 testing kits and tests to more than 50 schools in both New Jersey and Minnesota, and Walgreens on their Get a Shot, Give a Shot campaign to promote flu shots and help ensure access for all via a $5,000 donation.
Meet the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Selection Committee. Source, last updated June 11, 2021: Read Article
Six-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, Author and Activist
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, a six-time NBA champion and the league’s only six-time MVP. He has a national platform as a regular contributing columnist for newspapers and magazines around the world, including The Washington Post, Time Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter, where he shares his thoughts on some of the most socially relevant and politically controversial topics facing our nation today. After 50 years as an athlete, activist, and a New York Times best-selling author, he offers his perspectives as a nationally recognized speaker who regularly appears on the lecture circuit. Currently, Abdul-Jabbar serves as the chairman of his Skyhook Foundation, whose mission is to “Give Kids a Shot That Can’t be Blocked” by bringing educational STEM opportunities to under-served communities through innovative outdoor environmental learning. Before leaving office, President Barack Obama awarded Abdul-Jabbar with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Dr. Richard Lapchick
Human Rights Activist and Internationally-recognized Expert of Sports and Social Issues
Richard E. Lapchick brought his commitment to equality and his belief that sport can be an effective instrument of positive social change to University of Central Florida in August 2001, where he launched the DeVos Sports Business Management Program. In 2015, it was named the number 2 program in the world by SportsBusiness International. He has spoken in Congress, at the United Nations, in the European Parliament and at the Vatican. He was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame of the Commonwealth Nations in the category of Humanitarian along with Arthur Ashe and Nelson Mandela. Lapchick was inducted into the NYC Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015. He was named as one of Beyond Sports Inspirational 50 people (living and passed) who used sport to change the world, a list that includes Billie Jean King, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela. Lapchick was one of 200 guests invited by Mandela to his inauguration after leading the American sports boycott of South Africa from 1975 until the end of Apartheid. He has been married to Ann Pasnak since 1989. They have three children, Joe, Chamy and Emily, and four granddaughters, Taylor, Emma, Molly and Lauren.
Youth Representative and Member of the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders
Kendall Dudley is a sophomore at Sidwell Friends High School in Washington D.C. She is currently ranked as the No. 4 player in the class of 2024 and plays for her mother, head coach Tamika Dudley, at Sidwell Friends School and the Maryland Belles AAU program. Sidwell Friends was ranked as the No. 1 team in the country this year. It is also where Sasha and Malia Obama attended high school. As a member of the 2021 USA Basketball U16 National Team, Dudley averaged 7.5 ppg. and 4.2 rpg. to help the USA to a 6-0 record and gold medal at the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Mexico.
In April 2021, Dudley was named as an inaugural member of the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders, a youth leadership council comprised of 18 15- and 16-year-old basketball players from across the U.S. The members participate in personal development programming focused on leadership, decision-making, mental wellness and civic engagement, and convene monthly for guest speakers to broaden their understanding of issues related to social justice, gender equality and more. The young men and women also meet with the NBA’s youth basketball development team to offer insights on improving the youth basketball experience.
Marc H. Morial
President and Chief Executive Officer, National Urban League
Marc H. Morial is President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization. As Mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002, Morial led New Orleans’ renaissance, and left office with a 70 percent approval rating. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and African American Studies, he also holds a law degree from Georgetown University.
President and Chief Executive Officer, UnidosUS
Since 2005, Janet Murguía has served as President and CEO of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. In that role, Murguía has sought to strengthen UnidosUS’s work and enhance its record of impact as a vital American institution. Murguía has also worked to amplify the Latino voice on issues affecting the Hispanic community such as education, health care, immigration, civil rights and the economy. Murguía began her career in Washington, D.C., as legislative counsel to former Congressman Jim Slattery from her home state, Kansas. She worked with Congressman Slattery for seven years before joining the Clinton administration, where she served for six years as a deputy assistant to President Clinton, including deputy director of legislative affairs. After serving in the Clinton administration, Murguía went on to serve as deputy campaign manager and director of constituency outreach for the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign. She received three degrees from the University of Kansas: a B.S. degree in journalism, a B.A. degree in Spanish and a J.D. from the KU School of Law.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rise
Amanda Nguyen is an internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. Nguyen penned her own civil rights into existence by unanimously passing the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. She has trained hundreds of activists using her theory of organizing, “Hopeanomics,” to pass 35 laws protecting more than 87 million sexual violence survivors. Recently, her viral video sparked national coverage on anti-Asian hate crimes. Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Rise, a social movement accelerator where she teaches grassroots organizing. In recognition of her work, Nguyen is a Heinz Laureate, Nelson Mandela Changemaker, Forbes 30 Under 30, Foreign Policy 100, Time 100 Next, Frederick Douglass 100 and Marie Claire Young Woman of the Year. Previously, Nguyen served at NASA and the State Department under the Obama administration. Nguyen graduated from Harvard University.
NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO
Mark Tatum was appointed NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO on Feb. 1, 2014, following unanimous approval by the NBA Board of Governors. Tatum, who joined the NBA in 1999, is responsible for the NBA’s business operations, including leading the NBA’s international efforts. Prior to joining the NBA, Tatum worked for Major League Baseball in Corporate Sponsorship and Marketing, the Clorox Company as a Regional Sales Manager, Pepsi-Cola Company in its Sports Marketing department and Procter & Gamble in sales management. Tatum sits on numerous boards including USA Basketball, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, General Motors, LA 2028 Summer Olympics and Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors. He is Chair of the Harvard Business School Club of New York and a member of the Executive Leadership Council, a national organization that empowers Black corporate leaders to make impactful contributions. Tatum received a B.S. in Business Management from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard University.