Hall of Fame basketball player and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has seen everything under the sun regarding human rights, social justice and health.  

So, it comes to no surprise that the legendary figure supports COVID-19 vaccinations, a cause that he believes provides safety to not only Black people, but to everyone on and off the basketball court.  

“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” said Abdul-Jabbar to Rolling Stone. “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?”  

Players like Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets, Jonathan Judah Isaac of the Orlando Magic and Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors have pushed back against the COVID-19 vaccination.  

Abdul-Jabbar has not approved of their stances.  

“They are failing to live up to the responsibilities that come with celebrity,” he said in an email to Rolling Stone. “Athletes are under no obligation to be spokespersons for the government, but this is a matter of public health. By not encouraging their people to get the vaccine, they’re contributing to these deaths. I’m also concerned about how this perpetuates the stereotype of dumb jocks who are unable to look at verified scientific evidence and reach a rational conclusion.”