The Lakers legend condemned current Lakers megastar James for fueling conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccines on social media.
Los Angeles Lakers icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar seemingly feels compelled to reprimand current Lakers star LeBron James over his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine.
James sparked outrage in the NBA world when he appeared to be hesitant to get the vaccine before finally succumbing and taking the jab in September. Since then, he’s been accused of using his social media platform to fuel so-called conspiracy theories related to the COVID-19 vaccines.
Los Angeles Lakers icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (left) appears to have reprimanded current Lakers star LeBron James (right) over his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photos: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images and David Berding/Getty Images)
On Friday, James shared a meme depicting a cartoon illustration of three Spidermen; one was labeled “flu,” another labeled “COVID” and the third labeled “cold.” The Spidermen are pointing at each other, and James captioned the post: “🤷🏾♂️ Help me out folks” — implying that the three viruses are the same.
Abdul-Jabbar responded with a lengthy essay in which he condemned James for his “uninformed” post that “puts lives and livelihoods at risk.”
“To directly address LeBron’s confusion, no one thinks colds and the flu aren’t serious,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Experts agree that COVID-19 is at least 10 times more lethal than the flu. As for the common cold, death is extremely rare.”
Earlier this month, James was cleared to return to the basketball court after entering NBA health and safety protocols when he tested positive for COVID-19 in late November, theGrio reported. Additional testing confirmed that he was not a positive case.
James alluded to the mixed test results with a cryptic tweet that read: “Something real (fish emojis) going on.”
He told the media in September that he was vaccinated against the virus, making his infection a breakthrough case.
“I know that I was very skeptical about it all,” he said back then in reference to inoculation. “But after doing my research and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited, not only for me but for my family and my friends. And that’s why I decided to do it.”
Abdul-Jabbar says James is doing a disservice to his large social media following by not actively encouraging his fan base to comply with President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates.
“With 106 million Instagram followers, making such a post is automatically politically impactful because he questions the validity of the efforts to get the country vaccinated,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “As is evident by some of the comments that cheer LeBron’s post, he’s given support to those not getting vaccinated, which makes the situation for all of us worse by postponing our health and economic recovery.”
Abdul-Jabbar is urging Black celebrities and influencers to take a more active role in being COVID-19 vaccine advocates.
“While LeBron is a necessary and dynamic voice critical of police brutality against the Black community, he needs to be the same necessary and dynamic advocate with vaccines, which could save thousands of Black lives right now,” he wrote.
James reacted to Abdul-Jabbar’s comments following the Lakers’ 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, as reported by People.
“No, I don’t have a response to Kareem at all,” James told reporters. “And if you saw the post and you read the tag, you’re literally, honestly asking, ‘Help me out?’ Help me kind of figure it all out. We’re all trying to figure this pandemic out and the new strain.”
“I think people forgot about the flu,” James asserted. “People like literally forgot about the flu during these times like that’s still going around, it’s flu season. People have forgot about common colds. That happens, especially with a lot of our kids that’s in school. My daughter is in first grade, so a lot of these kids are getting like common colds and getting the flu. But no, I don’t have any response to Kareem.”
This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Biba Adams.
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