The NBA announced that Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Reggie Bullock has been named the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion. 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 systemically disadvantaged, specifically within the LGBTQ+ community.
After his sister, Mia Henderson – a transgender woman – was murdered 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 ahead of the 2021-22 season, Bullock immediately connected with 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 take action in support of their work.
“We are all one, and I believe love lies in everybody’s heart,” said Bullock. “It’s incredibly important to me as a cisgender athlete to stand in support of the trans and LGBTQ+ community.”
Ahead of National Day of Trans Visibility on March 31, 2022, Bullock participated in a Mavs Take ACTION! initiative conversation titled Voices Unheard, Uplifting Trans Perspectives, alongside leaders from the Muhlashia Booker Foundation. The conversation reflected upon the struggles of losing a trans family member, challenges within the community and how allies can provide protection, partnership, visibility and inclusion.
For nearly a decade, Bullock has used his platform to call for acceptance and inclusion of all people through local and national efforts around the LGBTQ+ movement, including participating in the NYC Pride March, pride games with multiple NBA teams, the GLAAD Media Awards and events for LGBTQ+ youth and allies at NBA All-Stars and beyond. Additionally, Bullock created RemarkaBULL, an organization focused on developing revitalized spaces for a stable life in the LGBTQ+ community. He continues to advocate for equal rights and protections for these individuals including by speaking out against legislation that prohibits transgender youth participation in sports and challenging higher education institutions to consider inclusive policies. In an effort to help prevent violence against women he partnered with the Vera Institute of Justice to engage with incarcerated communities and elevate the harmful impacts of mass incarceration.
In June 2021, Bullock penned a Players Tribune article titled “I Just Wanna Say My Sisters’ Names” about the murders of Henderson and his younger sister, Keiosha Moore, and advocating for greater awareness around gun violence and crimes against women. His story was published during a year when more than 50 trans and gender non-conforming people were killed in the U.S., the most in a single year. on record according to the Human Rights Campaign. Since 2013, the HRC has documented 256 incidents of fatal violence against trans and gender-nonconforming people, at least 84% of those killed were people of color, 85% were trans women and 66% were Black trans women.
Bullock has selected Kinston Teens, a youth-led organization focused on community development and youth empowerment in his native Kinston, NC, to receive a $100,000 contribution on his behalf. The winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award was determined by a selection committee composed of Abdul-Jabbar, notable social justice leaders, Abdul-Jabbar, Jr. NBA Court of Leaders member Kendall Dudley, Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport Dr. Richard Lapchick, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, Rise Founder and CEO Amanda Nguyen, and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. The four other finalists for the award were Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr., Minnesota Timberwolves center-forward Karl-Anthony Towns and Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet. Each will receive $25,000 donations from the NBA to social justice organizations of their choice.