Golden State Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson has been named a finalist for the NBA’s inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, the NBA announced today. Toscano-Anderson is one of five finalists for the new annual honor which was named after six-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and 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. The winner of this year’s award will be named prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on TNT later this month.
Toscano-Anderson, whose parents are Black and Mexican American, is focused on empowerment for Latino and Black communities and established the Journey to Achieve (JTA) Foundation to give back to youth and families of color in the Bay Area, Santa Cruz and Mexico. The Oakland native has continued to use his voice to advocate for social justice and equality in the Bay Area.
Leading up to the 2020 General Election, Toscano-Anderson participated in the Warriors’ Voters Win campaign, a PSA aimed to encourage Black and Latino citizens to vote in the 2020 General Election and fill out the census. In addition, he led two Walk in Unity events in Oakland to bring people together to combat oppression, police brutality and social injustice.
To create opportunity and empower young people of color this past year, Toscano-Anderson has discussed biases with sixth grade students in San Francisco, spoken to more than 3,000 African youth about overcoming obstacles, and supported Digital Nest, a local nonprofit focused on empowering Latinx professionals, by taking part in a live Q&A where he discussed his childhood, basketball career and the pride he felt in playing with the Mexican National Team. In continued efforts to support the Latinx community, he addressed over 2,000 people in Spanish at the Día De Los Muertos Film Festival in Watsonville and purchased equipment and materials for Fundacion Unidos Por Chavinda in his family’s hometown that provides medicine and food for senior citizens and supports development and life skills for youth.
The winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award will select an organization to receive a $100,000 contribution on his behalf while the other four finalists will each select an organization to receive a $25,000 contribution. Toscano-Anderson has selected Homies Empowerment, a community development organization based out of Oakland, as the recipient of his donation.
The additional nominees include Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Tobias Harris and Jrue Holiday, who have all made standout commitments to social justice this year.