Nearly a year into the pandemic, the coronavirus is still a serious problem across the country, and the NBA has not been able to hide. Dozens of players have tested positive throughout the past few months, and 22 games this season have already been postponed due to teams not having enough players to suit up.
As the league tries to forge ahead through the season, commissioner Adam Silver has made it clear that they won’t jump the line for the COVID-19 vaccine. However, some members of the NBA community are already eligible to get the vaccine, and that includes San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
Popovich is the oldest coach in the NBA, and as he turned 72 years old on Thursday, he released a PSA in conjunction with the league in which he received the vaccine and urged others to do the same.
“I’m going to get the COVID-19 vaccine shot,” Popovich said. “It will keep me safe, keep my family safe and keep other people safe. Wearing masks is important and to get the vaccine does give you an added level of assurance. Science-wise, it’s a no-brainer. It’s the right thing to do so we can all get on track again. Let’s do this together.”
Popovich is the first head coach to publicly get the COVID-19 vaccine. Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar participated in a similar PSA earlier this month, and Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall also recently had the vaccine administered.
But while many in the league are eager to get vaccinated, that feeling is not shared by everyone. “Let’s be honest. I understand the suspicion as well, especially being a Black man and The Tuskegee Institute,” Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said last month, referencing the infamous Tuskegee Study. “We don’t forget stuff like that.”
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul, who’s also the president of the National Basketball Players Association, said the players and the league would hold discussions about whether or not the vaccine will become mandatory. “We’ll address that when it comes as far as a union and players,” Paul said. “But when it comes to all different types of vaccines, a lot of that stuff is personal.”
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told Yahoo Sports earlier this month that discussions about the vaccine with players have ranged from “Hell no, I’m not taking it” to “Why can’t we take it sooner?”
Courtesy: CBS Sports