Johnson has been advocating the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the year, since it became widely available and free for all Americans. As we near the NBA season, there has been plenty of consternation over some star players, most notably Kyrie Irving, who are not yet vaccinated, putting their seasons on the line.
Irving is the most glaring example due to New York City’s mandate for employees involved in indoor activities, like basketball games. Irving is not yet eligible to play in home games at Barclays Center, and as a result, the Brooklyn Nets made the decision to shut him down until he can play in all games when healthy.
Irving is in a small minority, with over 95-percent of players now vaccinated as the season starts. Magic Johnson thinks that the remaining players are letting their teammates down by not getting the shots.
Magic Johnson said Monday that NBA players who go unvaccinated are “letting down” their teammates. https://t.co/RefTZb6HuR
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) October 19, 2021
“You have said to your teammates, ‘I’m gonna be there for you,'” Johnson told CBS Monday. “Well, you can’t be there if you don’t get vaccinated. You’re letting them down. And then that hurts our chances of winning a championship. I would never do that to my teammates. Never.”
Johnson once again reiterated his public support for the vaccines. Earlier in the year, he posted on social media after receiving his jabs, to help show others that it is safe.
“I got my two shots and made sure I put it out on social media. I wanted, especially my community, to know, first of all, it’s safe. And the players, again, people listen to them, they follow them. That’s very important.”
The team that Johnson played for and served as president of basketball operations for, the Lakers, hit 100-percent vaccinations this month.