While the 'Social Justice Champion' award isn't among the most recognized accolades in the NBA, it may actually be one of the best to receive.
Other season awards are given to acknowledge basketball greatness, but the Kareem SJC trophy is there to honor the greatness of players off the court, the ones who make an impact on their communities.
This year, it was Dallas' Reggie Bullock, who was named as the recipient for his work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community:
The Dallas Mavericks’ Reggie Bullock appears to be this year’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion.
Bullock posted a photo of the award on his Instagram Story Sunday, saying “Super honored to have won this award! My platform isn’t taken for granted and I’ll keep inspiring and doing what’s right for my ppl 💙🙏‼️”
Specifically, the award is only given to a player who fights for social justice for individuals or groups of people who have been historically disadvantaged.
While many in the NBA have selflessly given back to support human rights and social justice, Bullock definitely stands out as a true warrior:
In addition to the award, Bullock will receive a $100,000 donation which he has chosen to give to Kinston Teens, an organization from his home town which works to amplify the voices Kinston’s youths.
The remaining four finalists, Jrue Holiday, Jaren Jackson Jr., Karl-Anthony Towns and Fred VanVleet. will each receive $25,000 to the organization of their choosing.
Throughout his NBA career Bullock has advocated for LGBTQ equity and inclusivity. When he signed with Dallas Bullock quickly formed relationships with local organizations that work in the LGBTQ space. These organizations include House of Rebirth, Dallas Southern Pride and Abounding Prosperity, among others.
His connection to the LGBTQ community is personal for him and comes in part from his remembrance of his sister Mia, a trans woman who was murdered in 2014.
This award is likely to get overshadowed by this season's All-NBA release sometime soon. In the grand scheme of things, the Social Justice Champion award doesn't make a huge difference, anyway.
But it's important to recognize those who are making a positive difference in the world today, especially those who are helping and empowering people who may not have the power to help themselves.