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Raptors guard VanVleet named finalist for NBA social justice award

Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet has been named one of five finalists for the NBA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.
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Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) drives the ball down court during second half NBA basketball action against the Boston Celtics, in Toronto, Monday, March 28, 2022. Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet has been named one of five finalists for the NBA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet has been named one of five finalists for the NBA's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award.

The award recognizes a current NBA player for working toward equity on behalf of "groups who have been historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged."

VanVleet, an all-star for the first time this past season, created a full academic scholarship awarded to a Black or Indigenous student with the University of Toronto's Rotman Commerce program in December. 

The scholarship includes mentorship from VanVleet.

VanVleet also co-hosted the "Bet on Yourself" podcast, highlighting struggling or up-and-coming BIPOC entrepreneurs.

Dallas's Reggie Bullock, Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns, Milwaukee's Jrue Holiday and Memphis's Jaren Jackson Jr., were also named finalists.

The NBA to will donate US$100,000 to the winner's choice of charity, and $25,000 to those of the other finalists.

VanVleet has selected Penny Appeal Canada, a relief and development organization, as the recipient of his donation.

The award winner will be announced during the Western Conference final.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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