Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr., Dallas’ Reggie Bullock, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Toronto’s Fred VanVleet selected as finalists for 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award

NEW YORK, NY - The NBA today announced that Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Reggie Bullock, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr., Minnesota Timberwolves center-forward Karl-Anthony Towns and Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet have been selected as the five finalists for the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award. The five finalists represent the year’s most impactful social justice advocates who are continuing NBA players’ decades-long tradition of activism. The annual award 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 finalists were determined from the pool of team nominees by the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion selection committee, comprised of social justice leaders and members of the NBA family. The committee includes inaugural voters Abdul-Jabbar, Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport Dr. Richard Lapchick, 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, as well as Kendall Dudley, the 2021-22 youth representative who is a member of the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders.

The winner will be announced during the Western Conference Finals on TNT and will receive a $100,000 donation from the NBA for a social justice organization of his choosing. The other four finalists will each select a social justice organization to receive a $25,000 contribution on their behalf. Los Angeles Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony was named as the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion at the end of the 2020-21 season.

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. He also sponsored all women-led local organizations for Women’s History Month through the Grizz Ticket Assist Program and covered the cost of the tickets, transportation and snacks for local middle school teams to attend University of Memphis Women’s Basketball games.

Jackson Jr. is also passionate about civic engagement and upon entering the league made it a point to be vocal about being a first-time voter during the 2018 season. Following that, he was incredibly visionary in support of voter campaigns and increasing awareness before the 2020 election, and this past election season, he supported several voting campaigns, including BET’s National Black Voters Day, Tennessee Secretary of State’s, Your Vote Matters Campaign and the Grizzlies’#GrizzVotes Campaign. Additionally, in Nov. 2021 he committed $7,500 to assist 13 families in eliminating their overdue housing and utility bills and launched his first social media fundraising campaign to support young Memphians on the rise on Giving Tuesday. As part of this ‘Much Required’ campaign, he raised nearly $200,000, in one day to add to his personal donation to help support local youth organizations, including Arts Memphis, Girls Inc., Memphis Slim House, Vance Avenue Youth Development Center and Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. He has selected Rock the Vote as the recipient of his donation.