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For all the impact Fred VanVleet had on the court during his first All-Star caliber season with the Toronto Raptors, the 28-year-old's impact off the court can't be understated.

The Raptors guard was named one of five finalists for the NBA's 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award, alongside Dallas Mavericks wing Reggie Bullock, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Memphis Grizzlies big Jaren Jackson Jr., and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, the NBA announced Monday. 

The award is meant to honor players 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.

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VanVleet created the Fred VanVleet Scholarship in Dec. 2021, a full academic scholarship for a Black or Indigenous student to pursue four years of higher education in Canada and receive mentorship from VanVleet to help shape the reality for the student after their academic career. Additionally, through the Heart of the City initiative, he distributed more than 1,000 backpacks to historically marginalized students throughout the Greater Toronto Area and provided them with the necessary resources to succeed academically. VanVleet also hosted a conversation with Marci Ien, Minister of Women & Gender Equality & Youth, to continue his allyship of women, per the NBA's press release.

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