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After  LeBron James told reporters last week that he believes getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is everyone’s personal choice and not something political, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned an essay voicing his disapproval of James’ comments, citing how dangerous they could be.

“I’m a huge fan of LeBron James, both as one of the greatest basketball players ever and as a humanitarian who cares about social injustice,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote in the essay, which is titled Why LeBron Is Wrong About “Honoring” Vaccination Hesitancy. “I have written his praises many times in the past and undoubtedly will in the future. I admire him and have affection for him. But this time LeBron is just plain wrong—and his being wrong could be deadly, especially to the Black community.”

Kareem also cited comments Draymond Green recently made regarding his teammate Andrew Wiggins who was previously unvaccinated, saying that people need to stop pressuring individuals to make decisions regarding their health, despite the wide-reaching effects of being unvaccinated.

“On the surface, it appears that Draymond and LeBron are arguing for the American ideal of individual freedom of choice. But they offer no arguments in support of it, nor do they define the limits of when one person’s choice is harmful to the community,” he continues, later writing, “And while some who don’t get the vaccine might never get sick or if they do suffer mild symptoms, they are still unknowingly spreading the disease to others, killing some. While we’re honoring the unvaccinated, COVID cases are rising alarmingly among young children.”

Abdul-Jabbar’s concerns have been mirrored by many in the sports world and beyond as the NBA prepares to begin the 2021-2022 season and is pushing teams to get its players vaccinated for the greater good of the entire league. 

LeBron’s recent comments have received push back from others as well, most recently Enes Kanter, who called him out while on CNN.

You can head over to kareem.substack.com to read Abdul-Jabbar’s essay in full.