With the Los Angeles Lakers limping toward the finish line during the 2021-22 season, it is easy to forget the off-court accomplishments for someone like Carmelo Anthony.
Back in the summer, Anthony was named the NBA’s inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award for his efforts and endeavors across multiple communities. Abdul-Jabbar himself presented the award to Anthony, who later admitted that it is the award he is the most proud to have gotten during his career.
Head coach Frank Vogel praised Anthony on the award, noting how much he makes the Laker organization proud.
“I want to start by commending Carmelo Anthony for being honored as the league’s social justice champion this year,” Vogel said. “It’s a great honor for him. It makes the Lakers proud. It’s an important cause for our league and for our team and to see him get that award is a big deal for us. I want to start by commending him for that.”
With positive news hard to come by nowadays, Vogel also acknowledged that Anthony’s achievement was a boost for the group.
“He’s been a great team guy and obviously very active in the community in regards to social justice and everything our league has been fighting for around that topic. He’s just been great for us. Just seeing him get this award is a really positive feeling for our whole group.”
In winning the award, Anthony received a really cool trophy that Abdul-Jabbar helped design:
The NBA today unveiled the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Trophy for the league’s annual #SocialJusticeChampion award.
The honor recognizes a current NBA player for pursuing social justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and drive equality. pic.twitter.com/l5ryBmYffw
— NBA (@NBA) April 3, 2022
The veteran forward’s legacy as a scorer will always be top of mind for fans, but it is important to remember that his social justice efforts are never forgotten.
Frank Vogel speaks to respect Lakers have for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Abdul-Jabbar, like many former Lakers, has been critical of the season they have been having but Vogel said they still respect and appreciate the franchise legend.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and all of our Lakers legends. We hear them when we know they’re not happy with the season that we’re having. We’re every bit as unhappy as them,” Vogel said.
“In the three years I’ve been here, Kareem spoke to us once. I want to say maybe last year, maybe Year 1. I’m not specifically sure. It was before a Celtics game. Just talking about that rivalry, but obviously, we have so much love for Kareem and all that he represents to our fanbase for what he’s done for our team, but also for the league and who he has been in terms of fighting social injustice throughout the years.”
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