Karl-Anthony Towns Named 2023-24 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion

$100,000 will be donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities to advance health equity

Minneapolis-St. Paul – The NBA today announced Minnesota Timberwolves forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns has been named the 2023-24 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion. Towns becomes the first Timberwolves player and fourth recipient of the award since its inception in 2021. The annual award honors a current NBA player for pursuing social justice and upholding the league’s values of equality, respect and inclusion.

“It is a great honor to be named the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion,” said Towns.  “I am proud to have played a role in the passing of Minnesota’s Restore the Vote bill and I will always be committed to supporting social justice causes as that is part of my DNA.”

Towns is being recognized for his work and advocacy in expanding voter rights in Minnesota. Towns played a pivotal role in the passing of Bill HF28 – Minnesota’s Restore the Vote bill, allowing formerly incarcerated individuals the right to vote alongside eligible voting Minnesotans. Towns used his platform and voice in support of the bill, while also spotlighting issues related to mass incarceration. Towns gave his time, participating in community conversations and met with the Minnesota Freedom Fund, New Justice Project, Minnesota Justice Research Center and All-Square, key organizations who helped shepherd the bill through the legislature.   

Towns’ advocacy resulted in the passing of Bill HF28 into law in July 2023, following Minnesota Governor Walz’s approval in March 2023, allowing more than 55,000 Minnesotans who were previously incarcerated or on parole, the right to cast their vote. The law marked the largest expansion of voting rights since the voting age in Minnesota was lowered to 18 years old.

Since he first arrived in Minnesota, Towns has made it his mission to not only engrain himself in the community, but to listen and learn from the community and Minnesota at large. His activism has advanced a wide-range of social causes, often bringing to light the humanity in those causes.

As the 2023-24 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion, a $100,000 donation will be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities on Towns’ behalf to advance health equity among youth and support the mental wellbeing of Black and Brown communities as part of Towns’ 32 Wellness program.

Towns was previously named a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion finalist in 2022 for his social justice work following the murder of George Floyd.

The award is named after six-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The recipient will have advanced Abdul-Jabbar’s mission to drive change and inspire others to reflect on injustice and take collective action in their communities over the previous year. All 30 teams nominate one player from their roster to be the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion. The finalists and winner are selected by a committee composed of NBA legends, league executives and social justice leaders.