Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says NBA should have vaccine mandate for players
There will be no vaccine mandate for NBA players this season. Coaches and team staff have to be vaccinated, as do referees, but the players union has called a players vaccine mandate a non-starter.
Hall of Famer and player who deserves to be in the GOAT conversation Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says players should be required to be vaccinated and has no patience for those who have not gotten the jab. Look at what he told Matt Sulivan in a must-read feature at Rolling Stone.
There are some high-profile non-vaccinated players in the NBA, specifically Kyrie Irving of the Nets and Andrew Wiggins of the Warriors. Both play in cities — New York and San Francisco, respectively — with vaccine mandates to enter larger indoor spaces, meaning neither can play in home games so long as they are unvaccinated. Wiggins requested a religious exemption, but the league denied that request. Irving appears to have gone down the COVID misinformation rabbit hole. They are not alone among players, there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 unvaccinated players, and some, such as Jonathan Isaac of the Magic, are very public about it.
Abdul-Jabbar is frustrated with the attitudes of these players.
There are a lot of people around the league who agree with Abdul-Jabbar.
At this point, arguments of logic or reason — or, in the case of the very religious such as Isaac, noting that the Christ-like thing to do would be to put the needs and safety of others first — are not going to sway minds. So the NBA has taken steps to change the calculus for the unvaccinated, making them jump through more hoops to play. However, as noted in the Rolling Stone article, the NBA has backed off a number of those ideas, such as off-day testing and players being separated from teammates during travel.