Abdul-Jabbar wrote an essay addressing King James’ claims that vaccinations should be a personal choice, citing how dangerous that statement can be. The essay is titled Why LeBron Is Wrong About “Honoring” Vaccination Hesitancy.
“I’m a huge fan of LeBron James, both as one of the greatest basketball players ever and as a humanitarian who cares about social injustice,” Abdul-Jabbar. “I have written his praises many times in the past and undoubtedly will in the future. I admire him and have affection for him. But this time LeBron is just plain wrong—and his being wrong could be deadly, especially to the Black community.”
Earlier this week, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green also opted to remain out of vaccination talk when asked about his then unvaccinated teammate Andrew Wiggins. Abdul-Jabber also had a message for Green.
“On the surface, it appears that Draymond and LeBron are arguing for the American ideal of individual freedom of choice. But they offer no arguments in support of it, nor do they define the limits of when one person’s choice is harmful to the community,” he added. “And while some who don’t get the vaccine might never get sick or if they do suffer mild symptoms, they are still unknowingly spreading the disease to others, killing some. While we’re honoring the unvaccinated, COVID cases are rising alarmingly among young children.”
In January, the NBA released its first vaccine-related PSA featuring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who stated, “Because of the COVID-19 virus, we’ve had to find new ways to be together, we’ve had to find new ways to communicate, we had to find new ways to play and we have to find new ways to keep each other safe. For myself and my family, I am going to take the COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more about the vaccines, go to CDC.gov. Let’s do this together.”
Since the start of the pandemic in March, NBA, and WNBA players, legends and coaches have filmed more than 50 PSAs to share support and tips for reducing risk and staying healthy, including recent messages about the importance of wearing face coverings, hand washing, and physical distancing following the recent surge of cases around the country. The PSAs have been viewed over 65 million times.
You can read Kareem’s essay at kareem.substack.com.