By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The NBA on Thursday announced the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, to recognize a current NBA player and give $100,000 to the awardee’s organization of his choice.

Abdul-Jabbar, a UCLA star who went on to become of the Los Angeles Lakers’ greatest players of all time, has devoted much of his life to advocating for equality and social justice, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

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“With this new award, we are proud to recognize and celebrate NBA players who are using their influence to make an impact on their communities and our broader society,” Silver said.

The Lakers superstar’s long history in the civil rights movement includes meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the age of 17; attending the 1967 Cleveland Summit, where Bill Russell, Jim Brown and other prominent Black athletes to discuss Muhammad Ali’s refusal to serve in the Vietnam War; and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama in 2016. Abdul-Jabbar went on to create the Skyhook Foundation in 2009 to help provide STEM opportunities to underserved children.

“I’m honored and grateful to be associated with this award that will recognize the dedicated and selfless people fighting to promote social justice for all marginalized people,” Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement. “To me, it’s another giant step in the right direction for the country and all people who value equality.”

Each of the NBA’s 30 teams will nominate one player, which will be selected by a committee of NBA legends, league executives, and social justice leaders, according to the NBA. The recipient will get to choose an organization to receive a $100,000 contribution on his behalf. Four finalists will also be able to choose an organization to receive a $25,000 donation.

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The winner and the finalists will be announced during the postseason.