NBA

Sacramento Kings Harrison Barnes Named One Of 5 Finalists for Brand New NBA Award

Jun 12, 2021, 3:07 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 25: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings looks on in the firs...
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The NBA announced that Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes has been selected as one of five finalists for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

The new annual award, named after six-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, recognizes a current NBA player for 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 other four finalists are Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson.

The finalists for the award were selected from an impressive pool of NBA team nominees who have upheld the league’s decades-long values of equality, respect and inclusion.

The finalists were determined by a selection committee composed of Abdul-Jabbar, and notable social justice leaders, including Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport Dr. Richard Lapchick, student activist Teyonna Lofton, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, Rise Founder and CEO Amanda Nguyen and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.

Over the last year, Barnes has provided meaningful support to youth, families and frontline workers in Sacramento, Dallas and Ames, IA, and has also been a vocal advocate for voter rights, addressing systemic racism and investing in Black youth. Leading up to the 2020 election, he emphasized the importance of civic engagement and voting through speaking engagements, a collaboration with Be.Woke.Vote and casting a ballot himself on National Vote Early Day at Golden 1 Center.

As part of the NBA restart, Barnes dedicated each Kings game to a different organization supporting racial justice – including the Trayvon Martin Foundation, the Botham Jean Foundation, The Atatiana Project, Mothers Against Police Brutality, the Michael Brown Foundation, Tamir Rice Foundation, Champion in the Making and the African American Policy Forum – and contributed $25,000 to those created by the families of victims of police brutality and gun violence.

In October, he was named to the NBA Foundation’s inaugural Board of Directors, helping to guide its effort to further economic empowerment in the Black community and in February, Barnes announced his partnership

with Goalsetter, a Black-owned finance app that provides an education-first banking experience, to open saving accounts for 500 youth from Build.Black. in Sacramento and TL Marsalis Elementary in Dallas. He also launched a series entitled “Conversations with Harrison,” in which he speaks with nonprofit and community leaders, educators, athletes, elected officials and business leaders to promote their work and bring attention to their causes.

As previously announced, each finalist has selected an organization focused on advancing social justice that will receive a contribution on his behalf. The winner will receive a $100,000 donation and the other four finalists will each receive a $25,000 contribution. Barnes has selected Center for Policing Equity as the recipient of his donation.

The winner will be announced prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on TNT. Below is more information about the finalists, including their respective efforts and selected beneficiaries, and additional details regarding the selection committee.

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