December 29, 2021
(Reuters) – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James said he had no response to NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who criticised James for a social media post in which he appeared to question the difference between COVID-19 and the flu and common cold.
James had posted an image on Instagram last week showing three cartoon Spidermen pointing at one another with the words “COVID”, “flu” and “cold” superimposed over each of them. He added a caption that read: “Help me out folks.”
Lakers great and NBA Hall of Famer Abdul-Jabbar criticised the meme in a letter on self-publishing platform Substack addressed to James, saying it implied the 36-year-old did not understand the difference between the ailments.
“With 106 million Instagram followers, making such a post is automatically politically impactful, because he questions the validity of the efforts to get the country vaccinated,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
“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 us worse by postponing our health and economic recovery.”
James, who guided the Lakers to a 132-123 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, told reporters he did not have a response to Abdul-Jabbar.
“And if you saw the post and read the tag, you’re literally, honestly asking, ‘Help me out? Help me figure it all out’,” he added.
“We’re all trying to figure this pandemic out. Trying to figure out COVID, the new strains and the flu. People literally forgot about the flu during these times. Like, that’s still going around.
“This is flu season … People have forgotten about common colds. That happens, especially with a lot of our kids that are in school. My daughter is in first grade so a lot of these kids are getting common colds and getting the flu.”
Four-times NBA champion James is fully vaccinated and recently recovered from COVID-19.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)