Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Monday that John Stockton’s comments about COVID-19 are harmful and just add to the reputation of athletes as “dumb jocks.”
“I think statements like that make the public look upon athletes as basically dumb jocks, for trying to explain away something that is obviously a pandemic,” Abdul-Jabber said as a guest on CNN’s “New Day.” “The best way to fight pandemics is through vaccination and testing.”
Abdul-Jabbar was responding to a question about Stockton’s conspiratorial comment that more than 100 athletes have died from the COVID-19 vaccines, an internet-fueled meme unsupported by facts that has gained traction among anti-vaxxers.
In a story that was first reported by The Spokesman-Review, Gonzaga suspended Stockton’s men’s basketball season tickets because of his refusal to wear a mask at games. Stockton, an NBA legend whose jersey is retired at Gonzaga, said the school gave him an ultimatum to either mask up or forgo attending games. During his interview with The Spokesman-Review is when the NBA’s all-time assists leader made his baseless vaccine claim.
“It doesn’t make sense what he’s saying,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I think John’s reaction to the vaccine is extreme and not based on reality or facts. If John could just check the facts out, he would understand that this vaccine is saving lives and preventing people from having serious reactions to the virus. It won’t eliminate the virus overnight, but it will stop people from dying and will stop people from becoming seriously ill.”
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