The hits just keep coming for NBA Lakers superstar LeBron James, who is taking heat from former player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for, of all things, a Spiderman meme.
James posted the meme on his Instagram and Abdul-Jabbar took exception to it, prompting a written response on his Substack where the former Lakers baller ripped the people in the comments for their opinions on the COVID-19 vaccine.
While conservatives are no fan of James, the point he made in his social media post was very much one that is made on the right.
“Help me out folks” he posted with a shrugging emoji.
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Abdul-Jabbar went as far as to title his response: “Dear LeBron: Here’s the COVID-19 Help You Requested in Your Spider-Man Meme.”
While the post started out singing James’ praises regarding his leadership in the black community, the sentiment quickly soured after Abdul-Jabbar got to the point.
“The meme’s implication is that LeBron doesn’t understand the difference among these three illnesses, even after all the information that’s been presented in the press,” he wrote. “Well, since he asked, let me help him out by explaining the difference—and how knowing that difference might save lives, especially in the Black community.”
He then flashed back to a quote from James supporting bodily autonomy and the right for others to choose their own medical futures.
First, let’s put his meme in context. In September, LeBron stated: “I don’t talk about other people and what they should do. We’re talking about individual bodies. We’re not talking about something political or racism or police brutality. I don’t think I personally should get involved in what other people do for their bodies and livelihoods … I know what I did for me and my family … But as far as speaking for everybody and their individualities and things they want to do, that’s not my job.”
Abdul-Jabbar disagreed with the idea and accused James of giving those with grievances against the COVID-19 vaccines and/or mandates a place where they can voice their opinions.
“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 worse by postponing our health and economic recovery,” he lamented, echoing media sentiment that somehow the unvaccinated are single-handedly responsible for the continuation of the coronavirus.
He then quoted some CDC figures on the vaccines. Then he took it a step further by insinuating that the black community needs more people promoting vaccination, as people of color have higher infection and fatality rates than other communities.
“According to an article on the U.S. National Library of Medicine site, ‘The overrepresentation of African Americans among confirmed COVID-19 cases and number of deaths underscores the fact that the coronavirus pandemic, far from being an equalizer, is amplifying or even worsening existing social inequalities tied to race, class, and access to the health care system.'”
Despite a history of mistrust around institutions of authority including the medical field, Abdul-Jabbar claims that there is no excuse for black people not to get vaccinated.
“Vaccine hesitancy is higher in the Black community than in any other. While there are certainly justifiable historical reasons for Blacks to be skeptical of the health care system that has routinely marginalized, ignored, and even illegally experimented on them, that is not enough to justify compromising their health and even losing their lives during the current health crisis,” he wrote.
Closing out the article, Abdul-Jabbar claimed that James is excellent at leading the conversation on race and police brutality, but he should also be a leader for the black community regarding COVID vaccination as well.
This is the second time in December that the former Lakers star has publically gone after James. Earlier in the month, he addressed the player’s questionable choice to imitate Sam Cassell’s “big balls” dance after hitting a shot. The lewd display cost him $15,000 in fines and plenty of criticism.
“For me, winning is enough. Why do you need to do a stupid, childish dance and disrespect the other team on the court?” he asked “It doesn’t make sense. GOATs don’t dance.”
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