Abdul-Jabbar criticises LeBron’s Covid-19 meme

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has criticised Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James for posting a meme about Covid-19 on his Instagram account.

The meme, posted by James on December 24, features three versions of the superhero Spider-Man pointing at each other, with the words “covid”, “cold” and “flu” overlaid on each figure.

James has left the meme up despite criticism, and, in a newsletter, Abdul-Jabbar has termed the act risky and a “blow” to James’ “worthy legacy”.

“With 106 million Instagram followers, making such a post is automatically politically impactful because he questions the validity of the efforts to get the country vaccinated,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

“As is evident by some of the comments that cheer LeBron’s post, he’s given support to those not getting vaccinated, which makes the situation for all of us worse by postponing our health and economic recovery.

“To directly address LeBron’s confusion (…) experts agree that Covid-19 is at least 10 times more lethal than the flu. As for the common cold, death is extremely rare.”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts after blocking a shot by Houston Rockets forward David Nwaba during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

James is fully vaccinated after having previously expressed a hesitancy to promote the Covid-19 vaccine

Abdul-Jabbar has previously criticised James’ hesitancy to promote the Covid-19 vaccine as the NBA season began two months ago.

“We’re all for freedom, but not at the expense of others nor if it damages the country,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “That’s why we mandate seatbelts, motorcycle helmets, car insurance, education for our children.”

Abdul-Jabbar has been complimentary of James in regards to social justice and in his latest article, praised James as “a necessary and dynamic voice critical of police brutality against the Black community”.

But given that “vaccine hesitancy is higher in the Black community than in any other”, Abdul-Jabbar argues that “one way to help the Black community to overcome their hesitancy and save lives is for prominent Black celebrities and influencers to continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and (get) their boosters.”

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Highlights of the Los Angeles Lakers against the Houston Rockets in Week 11 of the NBA

After guiding the Lakers to a 132-123 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, James said he had no response to Abdul-Jabbar’s newsletter.