LeBron James played center for the first time in his NBA career yesterday, as he dragged Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and the league’s currently oldest team (the Los Angeles Lakers) to their first win in six games. But another former Lakers big man dragged James for his social media post about COVID-19.
Six-time champ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said James “doesn’t understand the difference among [the ‘rona, the cold, and the flu], even after all the information that’s been presented in the press… [so] let me help him out by explaining the difference.” In his blog post, Dear LeBron: Here’s the COVID-19 Help You Requested in Your Spider-Man Meme, Abdul-Jabbar threw a ton of stats at James and said “The Kid From Akron” could save tons of Black lives but chooses not to with putting up images like the one below.
However, this is not the first time Abdul-Jabbar has had King James in his crosshairs, COVID-19 or otherwise. In October of this year, the retired legend wrote an article titled Why LeBron Is Wrong About “Honoring” Vaccination Hesitancy. In it, he took James to task for supporting players like Andrew Wiggins in their choice to stay unvaxxed.
“[Those of us in] the Black community, where vaccine hesitancy is high, are dying at a disproportionately higher rate than whites,” wrote the 78-year-old Abdul-Jabbar, adding that “publicly talking about honoring opinions that contribute to their deaths is irresponsible.” Let it be said, though, that he also considered James’ 2014 return to Cleveland on the same level as a philandering husband coming home with regret. (So it’s probably fair to assume that Abdul-Jabbar is no fan of James at all.)
For now, though, LBJ ain’t taking the bait. “No, I don’t have a response to Kareem at all,” he said after last night’s victory over the Houston Rockets. “And if you saw the post and you read the tag, you’re literally, honestly asking, ‘Help me out?’ Help me kind of figure it all out. We’re all trying to figure this pandemic out.”
Photo: JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX / Getty