LeBron, Giannis, and Damian Lillard explain why they got Covid vaccine

The NBA knew it was likely in for a PR headache as players and coaches met the media to officially open the 2021-2022 season on Monday — and no, this has nothing do with Ben Simmons’ trade demand in Philadelphia.

In the days leading up to the start of the season, reports surfaced that several high-profile players had yet to receive the Covid vaccine. For Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, this meant they would be unable to play in their teams’ home games because of city ordinances in Brooklyn and San Francisco, respectively. Wiggins doubled-down on his stance at media day, while Irving deflected questions from reporters via Zoom because he couldn’t even be in the building without the vaccine.

While a few loud skeptics dominated the narrative on the NBA’s fight against Covid, it’s worth noting that 85-90 percent of the league is vaccinated according to recent reports. Instead of focusing on the vaccine holdouts in the face of an ongoing public health crisis, let’s celebrate all the players who are being leaders by showing the world that the vaccine is safe and effective.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: “I did what was best for me and my family to stay protected”

We start with the reigning Finals MVP who just led the Bucks to an improbable championship. Yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo is vaccinated.

LeBron James is vaccinated after doing his research

Damian Lillard: “As a kid, I had to get shots my whole life.”

Here’s the full quote from Lillard:

“I’m not mad at people for saying, ‘I need to do my research,’ or they got to take the steps that make them comfortable,” Lillard said. “But I have a lot of people in my family that I’m tight with and I spend a lot of time around and I’m just not going to put their health or their lives in danger because I want to do research. As a kid, I had to get shots my whole life. Before I went to college, I had to get shots. And, I couldn’t tell you one thing about any of them.”

“I’ve had people in my family actually die and people actually lose their lives to it, and there’s a way for me to protect myself and the people that I love, I’m going to do it,” Lillard said. “It’s pretty simple.”

Ja Morant got vaccinated for his baby daughter

Desmond Bane: “I’ll be fine knowing that I was one of those people that was at least trying to save the other people.”

Lonnie Walker knew where to get real information on the vaccine

Karl-Anthony Towns: “It never matters to people until it happens to them.”

Robin Lopez made the best vaccine joke

Like C.J. McCollum said:

Legendary NBA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said it best on why athletes need to lead the drive to get vaccinated:

Athletes and other celebrities have a public platform to help alleviate this crisis and to save lives. To not take on that responsibility harms the sports and entertainment industries, the community, and the country. Those who claim they need to do “more research” are simply announcing they have done no research, because the overwhelming consensus of immunologists and other medical experts is that the vaccine is effective and safe. And will prevent the unnecessary deaths of thousands. As I’ve said before, this position only perpetuates the stereotype of the dumb jock who’s only in sports for the money. It dehumanizes the victims as nothing more than political fodder.

Let’s hope we have a safe and fun NBA season ahead of us.

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