Harrison Barnes is much more than a basketball player. On Friday morning, that fact was acknowledged by the NBA when the Kings forward was announced as one of the five finalists for the newly formed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.
According to the league’s official release, “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 and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged.”
During his time in the league, Barnes has been known as a tremendous community activist. The Boys and Girls Club helped raise him in Ames, Iowa, and he’s been extremely generous to the organization in Dallas, Sacramento and his hometown.
As the coronavirus pandemic hit, Barnes stepped up to supply support to youth, families and frontline workers in Sacramento, Dallas and Ames.
Barnes has branched out in the last few years to include social justice initiatives around the United States. Along with his wife Brittany, Harrison dedicated each of the Kings’ eight games in the Orlando bubble to a different organization created by the families of victims of police brutality and gun violence, granting each a $25,000 donation.
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He recently started a series called “Conversations with Harrison,” where he speaks with nonprofit and community leaders, educators,…