Carmelo Anthony among finalists for NBA social justice award
Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) looks on against the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony among finalists for NBA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris and Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson are the finalists for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, the NBA announced Friday.

The award is given to the player who best embodies Abdul-Jabbar's message of civil rights, Black empowerment and racial equality. The five finalists are in consideration for a $100,000 award that will be donated to a social justice organization of the winner's choosing.

Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade created the Social Change Fund in July 2020. The organization works to address social and economic issues facing Black communities. Anthony is also a member of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition. 

Before the 2020 presidential election, Barnes worked with Be.Woke.Vote, a voting campaign aimed at historically disenfranchised young people. He also pledged $200,000 to organizations and foundations that combat police brutality and racial inequality. 

The 29-year-old also is partnered with a Black-owned finance app and opened savings accounts for 500 students in Dallas and Sacramento. 

Harris awarded $300,000, through the Tobias Harris Charitable Fund, to The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to recruit teachers from historically Black colleges and universities. He also created the Tobias' Top Teachers program, which funds professional development workshops and purchases classroom supplies for teachers to help recruit Black male educators. 

Holiday established the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund in response to COVID-19 and global anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd. The fund provided grants to 50 Black-owned businesses and Black-led organizations in New Orleans, Indianapolis and Los Angeles. 

Holiday also won the Joe Dumars Trophy for sportsmanship last week. 

Toscano-Anderson created the Journey to Achieve Foundation to help Black people across California and Mexico. He was also a part of the Warriors' Voters Win campaign during the 2020 election. 

The winner of the award will be announced before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bridgewater State University and currently is in pursuit of her Master's Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90.

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