Skip to content
Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns honored for social justice

Towns named NBA’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion

Karl-Anthony Towns added another important accolade to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ impressive season so far. The All-Star center was named the NBA’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion. 

The prestigious award recognizes athletes who inspire to make change and educate their communities on the importance of social justice.

“It is a great honor to be named the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion,” Karl-Anthony Towns said. “I am proud to have played a role in the passing of Minnesota’s Restore the Vote bill and I will always be committed to supporting social justice causes as that is part of my DNA.”

Towns, whose late mother was from the Dominican Republic, championed Minnesota’s Restore the Vote bill, which allowed more than 55,000 previously incarcerated Minnesotans the right to vote.

The NBA cited that advocacy while announcing his award. Minnesota’s Restore the Vote bill – Bill HF28 – gave the right to vote to formerly incarcerated individuals or individuals on parole. The former NBA Rookie of the Year was born in New Jersey. He has been outspoken about mass incarceration in the United States. 

Karl-Anthony Towns ‘stood out’

“There were a number of phenomenal candidates,” Abdul-Jabbar told Towns in an NBA video shared on X. “But your efforts to extend voting rights to Minnesota truly stood out.”

Karl-Anthony Towns collaborated with the Minnesota Freedom Fund, New Justice Project, Minnesota Justice Research Center and All-Square to support Minnesota’s Restore the Vote bill, which passed last July. As part of the Towns’ prize, $100,000 will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

The Timberwolves finished an impressive 56-26 regular season. They’ve earned four individual awards during the NBA Playoffs. Guard Mike Conley won Teammate of the Year. Forward Naz Reid won the KIA Sixth Man of the Year. Center Rudy Gobert won KIA Defensive Player of the Year.


Karl-Anthony Towns drops 50 at NBA All-Star Game

Devin Booker releases Nike ‘Book 1’ sneakers

Our Esquina Person of the Year: Jaime Jaquez Jr.

More importantly, perhaps, Towns has the Timberwolves two wins away from the Western Conference Finals. The Timberwolves took Games 1 and 2 from the Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. 

With Gobert out of the starting lineup for Game 2, Karl-Anthony Towns took the initiative to play both sides of the ball in a rowdy crowd at Ball Arena.

“You know when you don’t have the Defensive Player of the Year, you gotta step your game up,” Towns said after beating the Nuggets 106-80 in Game 2. “We all understood the challenge coming against the defending champions. … We just wanted to come here and find a way to win the game.”

Towns stars on court too

The Dominican American Towns finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds, one assist, two blocks, and one steal. Moreover, Towns  shot 3-for-5 behind the arc and recorded his 15th career double-double in the NBA Playoffs.

“KAT came out offensively and set the tone,” Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said. “Everything was quick, clean. Thought he played a really super clean game.”

Anthony Edwards is blossoming into an NBA superstar. The 22-year-old small forward is averaging 33.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.6 assist, 1.0 block, and 1.8 steals in the NBA Playoffs.

Edwards is not satisfied with a 2-0 lead on the defending champs. The 2020 first overall pick is aware the Nuggets are going to be ready in Game 3.

The 2003 season was the last time the Timberwolves appeared in the Western Conference Finals. Furthermore, the Wolves have never reached the NBA Finals in franchise history.

Towns is the longest-tenured player on the team. The first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is seeking his first trip to the Western Conference Finals, though, the Timberwolves need to take care of business against the second seeded Nuggets.

“The message we want to send is that you know we’re extremely honored and blessed,” Towns said. “We have this opportunity to go home 2-0, but we’re humbled in this approach.”

The Timberwolves have home-court advantage. The Target Center should be electric Friday and Sunday night in Minnesota. The T-Wolves will have a chance to dethrone the defending champions in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Stay in the Loop

Get the Our Esquina Email Newsletter

By submitting your email, you are agreeing to receive additional communications and exclusive content from Our Esquina. You can unsubscribe at any time.