Magic Johnson Says Unvaccinated Players Are ‘Letting the Team Down’

In Summary

Before opening night on the NBA’s 75th anniversary season, the Los Angeles Lakers legend delivered a strong statement against unvaccinated players.  

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson believes the NBA should have a 100% vaccination rate against the COVID-19 virus.  

Before the opening night ceremony of the NBA’s 75th anniversary season, Johnson spoke out against unvaccinated players and the negative impact non-vaccination has on their teams.  

“You have said to your teammates that you are going to be there for them, well you can’t be there if you don’t get vaccinated,” Johnson said. “You letting them down and then that hurts our chances of winning a championship, I would never do that to my teammates. Never.”  

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league currently has a vaccination rate of 96%.  

Johnson, who posted a video on social media of him receiving his COVID-19 vaccine, explained why it’s important to protect yourself against the virus.  

“That’s why I got my two shots and made sure I put it out on social media,” Johnson said. “First, I wanted to let my community know that it is safe and players. … people listen to them [players] and follow them.”  

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the average infections a day remain at a high of 85,000, but it’s down by more than 8,000 from the previous week. The average number of COVID-19 deaths has dwindled to 200 a day in October.  

As of Sunday, 57% of the United States’ population is fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

During the segment with Johnson, Silver delivered a message to Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who has refused to receive the vaccine. Irving is not allowed to practice or participate in games unless he is vaccinated.  

RelatedKyrie Irving Gives Whirlwind Response on Bypassing Vaccine on IG Live  

New York mandates proof of at least one shot of the vaccine to enter large indoor spaces. The league has said players who are unable to play in games due to local mandates will miss out on pay.  

“I’d tell him to get vaccinated, first and foremost for himself and his family,” Silver said Tuesday on Inside the NBA. “Next, for his teammates and his community and also for the league that I know he cares so much about.”  

RelatedKareem: Unvaccinated Players, Staff Should Be Removed From Team 

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