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Kings’ Harrison Barnes finalist for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award

The NBA is giving out the honor for the first time in history.

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes is being recognized for his contributions to the community. The NBA announced Barnes is among the five finalists for the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

The other four finalists are:

Carmelo Anthony - Portland Trail Blazers
Juan Toscano-Anderson - Golden State Warriors
Tobias Harris - Philadelphia 76ers
Jrue Holiday - Milwaukee Bucks

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 pushing for equality.

The Kings released a statement highlighting Barnes’ contributions to the community.

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.

All five finalists have picked one organization that is dedicated to social justice and equality issues. The NBA will donate $100,000 to the winning player’s choice, and the remaining four organizations will receive $25,000.

Barnes selected the Center for Policing Equity as his recipient. Since joining the team, Barnes has been active in the community and regularly works with local organizations and charitable causes. Barnes has spent the last 2.5 seasons with Sacramento and has averaged 15.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 158 games with the franchise.

The winner will be announced on TNT before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.