Kareem: NBA should mandate vaccine for all players, staff

Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wants all NBA players and team personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

"The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team," the Hall of Famer told Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone as part of a look at the anti-vaccine sentiment in the NBA. "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 aren't required to be vaccinated. However, all referees, most NBA staff, and any team personnel working within 15 feet of players must be vaccinated by Oct. 1.

Around 50 to 60 NBA players have yet to receive a single COVID-19 vaccine dose, sources told Sullivan.

Andrew Wiggins and Kyrie Irving are among the notable players who reportedly remain unvaccinated.

Abdul-Jabbar expressed disappointment in players not advocating for the vaccine, specifically those of color.

"By not encouraging their people to get the vaccine, they're contributing to these deaths," Abdul-Jabbar said. "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."

Kareem: NBA should mandate vaccine for all players, staff
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