Bullock was selected from a group of five finalists for “his dedication to 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 systematically disadvantaged, specifically within the LGBTQ+ community.”
Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Memphis Grizzlies center Jaren Jackson Jr., Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, and Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet were the other finalists. Each runner-up will choose an organization to receive $25,000 on his behalf.
NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar presented the award via Zoom and lauded Bullock for his commitment to LGBTQ+ equality.
“I think it's very, very appropriate that you get this award,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “The selection committee was astounded by your work for the LGBTQ community.”
When his sister, Mia Henderson, a transgender woman was killed in 2014, Bullock dedicated his life to honoring her legacy and fighting for increased visibility and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. Upon joining the Mavericks at the beginning of the 2021-22 season, Bullock worked with several organizations in the Dallas area, including Abounding Prosperity, Dallas Southern Pride, House of Rebirth, The Black-Tie Dinner, the Resource Center, and the Muhlashia Booker Foundation, to raise awareness of the issues impacting LGBTQ+ people.
“We are all one, and I believe love lies in everybody’s heart,” Bullock said. “It’s incredibly important to me as a cisgender athlete to stand in support of the trans and LGBTQ+ community.”
The recipient of the award selects a social justice organization to receive a $100,000 gift on his behalf. Bullock chose Kinston Teens to receive the donation.
Since its inception last year, Bullock is the second player to receive the award, joining 2021 recipient Carmelo Anthony.