Training camps for the NBA’s 30 teams are about to start, and many are hoping that the players who haven’t gotten vaccinated against the novel coronavirus will soon get the jab.
There appears to be somewhat of an undercurrent of vaccine misinformation infiltrating the NBA community, and the league reportedly wants to enlist the help of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“An NBA source says league officials could still ask LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo to appear in a PSA, but would never press the faces of its business to go there,” wrote Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone magazine. “As Black Americans continue to get vaccinated at a slower rate than any other race or ethnicity measured by the CDC, [Kareem] Abdul-Jabbar says that players who remain silent about the vaccine are no longer legitimate role models.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is still burning its way across the nation, mostly because only slightly more than half its population is currently immunized against the disease.
There was speculation about whether James himself was refusing to get the vaccine based on a cryptic comment he gave when asked if he had gotten it.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka says he expects everyone on the roster to be fully vaccinated by opening night.
One prominent NBA star who likely remains unvaccinated is the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving. New York City now has an ordinance that would prevent him from playing in Nets home games unless he becomes vaccinated.
There is reason for hope, however, when it comes to protecting the NBA against the pandemic. The league claims that 90 percent of its players have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The 2021-22 regular season starts in less than a month, which means that the clock is ticking for the NBA’s unvaccinated players.