Approximately 10% of the players in the NBA are not vaccinated at this time. There is concern that players will opt out of games where the vaccine is required. That includes Los Angeles, New York City, and New Orleans. 

With governments, businesses, and even restaurants requiring proof of vaccination, the pressure is increasing on those hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Many are now in a position of either compliance or continuous intrusive testing with the President’s recent proclamation that businesses must vaccinate or test their employees.

NBA Stars Resist Getting Vaccinated

And it isn’t just Average Joe’s affected by these rulings. According to this story from Rolling Stone, some of the NBA’s biggest stars are fighting to opt out of the vaccine and may take drastic measures to skirt NBA and government rules. 

The National Basketball Players Association (the union representing players) is fighting on behalf of members who wish not to vaccinate. The push back from cities and the league is strong. But there is one league star who could shift the balance one way or the other, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.

Irving is known for his eclectic political beliefs as much as he is for his skills on the court. League officials worry that if Irving, who also serves on the NBPA board, comes out against the mandate, it will embolden others.

The league and the union are working on a solution. But NBA legend, and Airplane! star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was less accommodating:

“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research.

For all the bluster and talk, NBA insiders still insist there will be no vaccine mandate for players.

Are Vaccine Mandates The Answer?

We are in unprecedented times. I don’t think anyone can doubt that.

Despite pressure from the government, Hollywood, and even our friends and family, vaccination is still a personal choice. Still, according to scientists, the vaccine is very effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

I got the vaccine for the health and safety of myself and my family. Many of whom are immunocompromised and would be put in grave danger by catching COVID. 

Some people are pointing out what happened to Karl-Anthony Towns when he got the virus, and how players should not ‘disparage the vaccine’ or question it.

In my opinion, I don’t think mandates are an answer. Personal freedom and individual choice are the bedrocks of our country.

If someone wants to get a vaccine or not, that is their decision. However, in my opinion, that does not inoculate them against the consequences of that decision. If the NBA wants to fine or fire players, then the NBA should have the right to do that. 

I am skeptical when it comes to government mandates. Individuals engaging in private decisions with a company is one thing.

The government forcing you with veiled threats is something else. I hope the players and the NBA can come to an equitable solution. A solution where the NBA honors individual freedom.

What are your thoughts on the NBA COVID situation? Should players be forced to be vaccinated? Sound off in the comment section below.

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