PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- The NBA announced Friday the five finalists for the league’s inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award and Sixers forward Tobias Harris is among them. The award, named after the six-time NBA champ and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is meant to recognize a player for pursuing social justice while advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s mission to “engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged.”
Harris has been an active voice in the Philadelphia community over the past year, walking in protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the city last summer. Among other actions, Harris penned a piece for the Player’s Tribune in the wake of the protests calling for people to listen to the message and used his media availability to call for the arrests of the officers in the case of Breonna Taylor.READ MORE: 2 Atlantic City Councilmembers Request State Troopers Assist Police After Violent Weekend
The NBA laid out some of the other initiatives that the 28-year-old forward has been involved with throughout the past year.READ MORE: 6 Day Workweeks And Poked By Needles: YaFavTrashman Fighting For Philadelphia Sanitation Workers' Safety
“To date through the Tobias Harris Charitable Fund, he has awarded $2 million dollars to help move the needle on educational equity. This year, he awarded $300,000 to The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to recruit teachers from HBCUs or diverse backgrounds – who are more likely to carry higher student loan balances following graduation – and provide relocation stipends to prevent barriers of quality Black teachers in the classroom. Harris also created the Tobias’ Top Teachers program, to assist in the recruitment and retention of Black male teachers by helping fund 55 professional development workshops and providing 800 new teachers with needed classroom supplies. Additionally, through his Lit Labs program that focuses on improving reading scores among students of diverse backgrounds, he distributed 30,000 books to 8,000 Philadelphia children to prevent summer reading gaps and helped improve the average rate gain for young scholars by 70%.”MORE NEWS: Police: 2 Teens In Car Shot At Red Light In Philadelphia's Olney Neighborhood
The winner of the award will have $100,000 donated to an organization they have selected that is focused on advancing social justice. The other four finalists will receive a $25,000 donation. The winner will be announced prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on TNT.