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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar urges public to get vaccine, part of NBA campaign


This photo taken February 4, 2019 shows Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the Hollywood Reporter’s 7th Annual Nominees Night in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX / AFP) / ALTERNATE CROP (Photo by JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has revealed that he received the COVID-19 vaccine and is encouraging others to consider doing the same.

The Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA’s leading all-time scorer has taped a short message that will be aired beginning Monday during broadcasts of games played on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. The video shows Abdul-Jabbar receiving a vaccine.

“We have to find new ways to keep each other safe,” he said.

This is part of a campaign by the NBA to convince both fans — as well as the league’s players — to get the vaccine. Having an icon who is outspoken on social issues, plus has a history of health issues in recent years (prostate cancer, heart surgery), get the vaccine and put his weight behind it is a powerful message.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 73, within the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about vaccine eligibility.

Those guidelines suggest that priority for receiving the vaccine should go to health care personnel, those living in long-term care facilities, front-line essential workers, those over the age of 65 and people “with underlying medical conditions” that increase their vulnerability to COVID-19.

Abdul-Jabbar revealed in a magazine article last month that he’s had prostate cancer, leukemia and heart bypass surgery.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will ensure that its players and teams wait until their turn comes to be vaccinated and will not “jump the line.”

The Los Angeles Clippers announced late last week that the LA Forum will serve as a large-scale vaccination site starting Tuesday, and Detroit forward Blake Griffin is part of a commission in Michigan trying to stress the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.