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The NBA is keeping to its mantra of not jumping the line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but it’s not on the sidelines with getting the word out as the pandemic devastates the United States.
Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar performed a PSA, announcing he will take the vaccine and is encouraging others to follow suit, right before the league takes center stage on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Starting on Tuesday, the L.A. Forum will be used as a vaccination site for Los Angeles County, perhaps the hardest hit in the country.
In Dallas, Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall and her husband Kenny took the first dosage of the vaccine. Both have pre-existing conditions and are cancer survivors. Marshall is a Black American and, similar to NBPA executive director Michele Roberts who said as much in a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, knows the concerns the Black community has with vaccines given the mistreatment they’ve experienced over decades.
“When you look at how COVID-19 has hit the African-American community and communities of color in such a big way, we just said, ‘If we can help send a message to build trust and help people stop and do research and get the vaccine,’ that would be great,” Marshall told the Dallas Morning News. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We made a personal decision to do this because we are concerned about how many people are dying from COVID-19, how this is really impacting the African-American community.”
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin is the first active player to publicly get behind the vaccine, as part of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s commission to educate citizens on the safety and veracity of the vaccine.
Having Abdul-Jabbar as a face and willing participant could go a long way in erasing some widely-held beliefs in the Black community, especially given the disproportionate rate Black Americans are being affected by the virus.
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