Over the weekend, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar suggested that the NBA insist on vaccination against COVID-19 and admonished those who are still holding out.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Abdul-Jabbar spoke about the tender subject and pulled no punches. He called vaccine deniers “disingenuous” for going against medical science as it relates to the pandemic and vaccines, but not when it comes to getting medical advice to treat their own ailments.
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team. There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff, and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research.
“What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
As with just about every conversation concerning vaccines and the pandemic, the overall reaction was mixed. But the NBA’s all-time scoring leader is finding no shortage of agreement on social media:
Now & then I ponder, “Wellll, maybe MJ or LeBron is the GOAT…” Reading this quote brought me back to my senses. https://t.co/6yJvOql2zS
— Chad Hesting (@ChadMHesting) September 26, 2021
Kareem’s a GD legend https://t.co/aVgIgdV7Bd
— Heather Mohrman (@mohrman_heather) September 26, 2021
And it shouldn’t stop at the players. You want to go watch a game live you have to get the #COVIDVaccine. Professional & college sports have the power to increase vaccination rates significantly if they would just exercise that power. #COVID19 @sixers @NHLFlyers @Eagles @Phillies https://t.co/TAoVTi2M7T
— Todd Bailey (@ToddKBailey) September 26, 2021
Especially for modern athletes that receive the kind of Modern Athletic Science that they have this days https://t.co/Gg7vqFRl1J
— Dan…뭘 봐??? (@eksISMYdlfma) September 26, 2021
While the NBA has reportedly achieved vaccination in a majority of players, there are several very prominent holdouts.
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving and Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins have maintained that they will not get the vaccine unless forced to, and even then, they may seek loopholes.
Irving and Wiggins also play in cities that have vaccine mandates, and may not be able to play in home games where vaccines are mandated.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is putting his foot down on this issue though. We’ll see if his words have the power to either move players into action – or force the NBA’s hand.