For someone who was infamously told to “shut up and dribble,” LeBron James still appears to be the go-to guy when it comes to topics remotely associated with society’s social climate and even politics.
On Monday, Dec. 21, the Los Angeles Lakers forward was challenged by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite James not meeting the qualifications set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Per CDC recommendations, “frontline essential workers” such as emergency responders, teachers, and people over 75 should be next in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
While speaking on the KTLA 5 Morning News, Dr. Adams made his plea, stating, “LeBron James, I know you’ve been a big supporter of masks. I want to know when you’re going to take the shot. Not the basketball shot, but the COVID shot. Because I did it because I know it’s safe, and we want to make sure people understand this is how we end the pandemic.”
Dr. Adams claimed that while he was in Ohio over the weekend, fans of the Akron native asked him if James would get vaccinated. He urged the athlete to “lead by example.”
“Take the shot, LeBron,” Adams said. “Take the shot. And encourage people to go to TheFightIsInUs.org, LeBron, and give plasma … that’s how they can save a life this holiday season.”
However, James’ supporters took to Twitter following the news to express their disapproval of Dr. Adams’ request, including one user who wrote, “First They Told @KingJames To ‘Shut Up And Dribble’ Now They Want Him To ‘Lead By Example’ And Take The Vaccine? Make Up Yall Mind.”
Another person wrote, “Leave @KingJames alone! He’s not responsible for promoting a vaccine… after all, wasn’t he told to shut up and dribble! Smh, now y’all on his D… sad man!”
“They really told @KingJames to lead by example and take the vaccine. But when he was trying to lead by example in other ways you told him just dribble the ball and shut up. #makeupyourmind,” a third expressed.
James hasn’t responded to Dr. Adams’ request. However, during a conference call on Monday, Dec. 21, NBA commissioner Adam Silver made it clear that the league members would not be skipping the line for the potentially life-saving vaccine.
“We will wait our turn to get the vaccine. When you think about the logistical feat that now the federal and state governments are undertaking, where if every citizen ultimately requires two doses and with a population of over 300 million, it’s beyond comprehension when you start to begin to think about the challenges of transporting and distributing this vaccine,” USA Today reported. He added, “It’s my hope that when we are eligible that members of the NBA community will want to get vaccinated, and it’s our plan to be involved with governmental efforts in terms of public messaging as to the benefits of taking the vaccine.”