Fan Voting Presented by Dell Technologies Starts Today, February 26
Springfield, Mass. — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the five finalists for the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer, Pac-12 Player of the Century and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its seventh year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball.
The five finalists for the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Luka Garza (Iowa), Trevion Williams (Purdue), Evan Mobley (USC) and Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky).
“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is widely regarded as the best college basketball player of all time,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “To be acknowledged as a finalist for an award that bears his name is a phenomenal achievement and these student athletes should be celebrated. As a player, person and talent evaluator, Kareem has always operated at an elite level and we are grateful for his continued involvement in the Naismith Starting Five.”
A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 student-athletes in November, which was narrowed to 10 candidates in January and now just five finalists. This month, the finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Naismith Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live today, February 26 on hoophallawards.com.
“This season has been one unlike any other and I know it has taken tremendous determination and discipline for these young men to focus and deliver a high level of play consistently,” said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 1995. “In the next few weeks, we will be keeping a watchful eye to see who is able to take their game to the next level as the stakes rise.”
The winner of the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented on ESPN, along with the other four members of the Naismith Starting Five. Additional awards being presented include the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award, in addition to the Women’s Starting Five. Additional information about the award presentation, including date and time, will be released in the coming weeks.
Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Luka Garza, Iowa (2020), Ethan Happ, Wisconsin, (2019), Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).
For more information and the latest updates on the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #KareemAward on Twitter and Instagram.
About Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1966-1969. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-1969). As a professional, Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 19-time NBA All-Star and the league’s all-time leading scorer.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.