Many of the NBA’s top players are skeptical about participating in the league’s COVID-19 vaccine PSAs.
Sources told ESPN that many players are still apprehensive about receiving the vaccine altogether, so they are not interested in promoting its effectiveness. This skepticism from players comes amid skepticism of the Black community as a whole, side-eyeing the vaccination process.
During a call with team execs on Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that while the league wouldn’t “jump the line” to receive the vaccines, players could be incentivized for getting vaccinated and should be ready for the widespread distribution of the shot soon.
However, hours after that call, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, revealed to CNN that widespread vaccine availability will likely be pushed back past his original April deadline.
“That timeline will probably be prolonged into mid-to-late May and early June,” Fauci said.
So far, the NBA has done vaccine PSAs with Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. However, Silver believes that getting some of the league’s biggest stars, many of whom are Black, to participate in the PSAs will inspire more African Americans to receive the vaccine.
“In the African American community, there’s been enormously disparate impact from COVID … but now, somewhat perversely, there’s been enormous resistance [to vaccinations] in the African American community for understandable historical reasons,” Silver said recently. “If that resistance continues, it would be very much a double whammy to the Black community, because the only way out of this pandemic is to get vaccinated.”