Minneapolis-St. Paul – ESPN announced Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns was named a finalist for the 2022 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award. This year, the Sports Humanitarian Awards will combine with The 2022 ESPYS Presented by Capitol One for a week of inspirational programming that showcases service, character and achievement in sports.
In its eighth year, the annual Sports Humanitarian Awards is a celebration of the impact made by athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who are using sports to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world.
“This is an extremely humbling honor to be named a Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award finalist,” said Towns. “Ali was a true change agent and humanitarian in every sense of the word; a social force who fought for the marginalized and inspired much of my community activism. I am honored to be among this list of athletes doing impactful and inspirational work.”
Towns has always devoted his time, platform and resources to health equity and education. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic he became a prominent advocate for vaccine education following the loss of his mother, Jacqueline Towns and worked closely with the NBA for the league’s vaccine PSA. In collaboration with Cue Health, Towns provided 100 COVID-19 testing kits to more than 50 schools in both new Jersey and Minnesota, and worked with Walgreens on their Get a Shot, Give a Shot campaign to promote flu shots and help ensure access to anyone who wants one via a $5,000 donation.
In July 2021, Towns donated $20,000 to the George Floyd Memorial Foundation in partnership with JD Sports and attended rallies throughout the Minneapolis community. As part of his Celebrity Wheel of Fortune appearance, Towns selected Vera Institute of Justice as his beneficiary, making a $30,000 donation. Vera Institute of Justice works to end the overcriminalization and mass incarceration of people of color, immigrants and people experiencing poverty. Towns continues to serve as a board member of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition.
Gender equity and access for women in sports is another pillar of work Towns is passionate about. Last year, Towns made a donation to Kean University in New Jersey to support programming for their women student athletes highlighting empowerment and internships and named the series in honor of his late mother. The campus court at Kean University is also named in her honor, the Jacqueline Towns Court.
Towns was previously named a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion finalist by the NBA as part of the league’s annual awards.
Anthony Barr (NFL Free Agent), Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals) and Brad Stuver (Austin FC) join Towns as this year’s four Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award finalists. The ESPYS will air live on ABC on July 20 at 7:00 p.m. CT.