LeBron James is a polarizing figure in the sports world. He has been criticized for his lack of leadership, and for not winning championships. However, many people still see him as one of the best players in NBA history.
From TV stars to sports legends, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers has lately faced backlash from a variety of celebrities for his controversial position on the COVID-19 vaccination.
Now, an NBA (and Lakers) great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, has spoken out.
Abdul-Jabbar is a well-known campaigner, and he always expresses his views on issues in a rational, well-considered manner. He recently went to his Substack to respond to James’ vaccination remarks.
Last week, LeBron James announced that he had gotten the COVID-19 vaccination during the Lakers Media Day. However, the future Hall of Famer declined to utilize his position to promote vaccinations among other Americans.
According to ESPN, James stated, “I was extremely [skeptical] about it all, but after doing my research and stuff like that, I felt like it was best suited for not only myself, but for my family and my friends.” “That’s why I decided to go ahead and do it. … I don’t speak about other people or what they should do in whatever I say.”
“I speak for myself and my family, and that is what it is about,” he added. We’re talking about people’s bodies here. We’re not talking about political issues, racism, or police brutality, or anything like that. We’re talking about people’s bodies and well-beings, therefore I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be engaged in what other people should do with their bodies and livelihoods.”
It is also not James’ duty to advocate for others “and their individualities and things they want to accomplish,” according to James.
On September 28, 2021, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers attends a media day. Getty Images/Harry How
Within the last year, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been a proponent of the COVID-19 vaccination. In a Substack article last week, he warned unvaccinated athletes like Bradley Beal.
Abdul-Jabbar, on the other hand, had a message for James on Oct. 4, beginning by stating he’s “a big admirer of LeBron” for his on-court skills and “as a humanitarian who cares about social injustice.”
On his Substack, Abdul-Jabbar wrote, “But this time LeBron is just plain wrong—and his being wrong may be fatal, particularly to the Black community.”
The NBA’s all-time leading scorer then brought up how Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors basically stated that everyone should “respect people’s emotions,” to which James responded on Twitter that Green “couldn’t have put it any better.”
Abdul-Jabbar wrote, “Actually, it couldn’t have been stated any worse.” “On the surface, Draymond and LeBron seem to be fighting for the American ideal of individual liberty. They do not, however, provide any reasons in favor of it, nor do they specify the boundaries of when a single person’s decision is detrimental to the community. We all support liberty, but not at the cost of others or at the expense of the country.”
“The only evidence for Draymond’s remark is his view that when people’press hard,’ there’s something fundamentally wrong with their opinion,” he added later in the article. That assertion is devoid of logic. Am I inherently wrong if I speak out against institutional racism (and other forms of injustice)? Those who advocate for vaccinations, on the other hand, may be motivated by a sense of urgency.”
Abdul-Jabbar concluded his piece by urging all sportsmen and celebrities to urge people to get the vaccination, which James, of course, declined to do.
He said, “You either join the line (with buckets of water) to rescue your neighbor’s house, or you stand by and watch it burn since you owe them nothing.”
Other celebrities have chastised LeBron James.
LEBRON DOESN’T HAVE A PUBLIC POSITION ON VACCINATIONS? While 90% of NBA players have been vaccinated, and basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has encouraged the remaining players to do so, vaccinated LeBron James believes it is a personal choice — the co-hosts weigh in. https://t.co/niKyNT0ZGo pic.twitter.com/wMrhs4zYsh
30 September 2021 — The View (@TheView)
Abdul-Jabbar isn’t the only athlete who has slammed James for his remarks.
“It’s not your duty to tell people what to do,” Whoopi Goldberg said on The View, “but you can advise that you found out that nobody sprouted a second head or a tail when they received the shot.”
“Obviously, LeBron James, he’s one of the faces of the league, and he should be the first one to go out there and say, ‘Listen, everyone, I got the vaccine, and I’m encouraging everyone, my community, everyone, basketball fans, non-basketball fans, and sports fans are just going out there and getting this vaccine, so we can save other lives,” Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter said (per CBS Sports).
However, James has not been universally panned. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, tweeted that he agrees with James’ stance on it being a personal choice.
Perhaps James will reconsider his position. Hearing the views of others, like as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, may convince him of the necessity of urging his followers to be vaccinated. But, for the time being, he’ll almost certainly continue to face opposition from other celebrities who just want him to do more on this subject.
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