On Thursday, the NBA announced a new award for off-the-court accolades. It will be named after former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who strives for social justice and racial equality.
According to Entertainment Tonight, the new award will honor the former Bucks and Lakers star, listed as the league’s all-time leading scorer.
“It’s nice to see the NBA try to promote social justice awareness, and I am very flattered they would see fit to name the award after me,” Abdul-Jabbar, 74, told The Undefeated. “I know I have some history with this, so I’m happy the way it’s worked out.”
The 2020-21 season winner will receive $100,000 to donate to his organization of choice. A $25,000 award will be given to four other finalists.
The title is officially known as the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.
The winner will be chosen similar to how the association chooses its Walter Payton Man of the year award; each NBA franchise nominates one player for the award. The committees league of executives, activists, and former players then decided who the winner is.
During his career, Abdul-Jabbar was known for his involvement in organizing a boycott of the 1968 Olympics following the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. He also helped organize the Cleveland Summit, which supported Muhammad Ali’s refusal to join the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
The former player received a lot of backlash for his stance and death threats for participating in the events.
Throughout his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar has continued to stand for racial justice and supports modern-day athletes who do the same.