Two months after calling out LeBron James’ hesitancy to promote the vaccine, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar still isn’t a fan of his recent statements about COVID-19. The moratorium between these two sports icons led to an online essay and a doubling-down by The King.
Abdul-Jabbar, 74, logged onto his Substack to criticize the Los Angeles Lakers star, this time for a widely criticized meme James posted to his Instagram page.
The offending meme: a three-way Spider-Man pointing meme with the figure’s label “covid,” “cold,” and “flu,” the implication being that the three illnesses are basically the same, which is empirically false.
James captioned the image, “Help me out, folks.”
With the post still up for all of his followers to see, Abdul-Jabbar’s essay caused quite a stir in the NBA sports world. Following a 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets, James initially responded to questions by saying he doesn’t have a response to the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and Hall of Fame legend.
He then proceeded to respond by doubling down on the idea that the flu and common cold are similarly serious.
“No, I don’t have a response to Kareem at all,” he continued. “And if you saw the post and you read the tag, you know that I’m literally, honestly asking, ‘help me out.’ Help me kind of figure it all out like we’re all trying to figure this pandemic out. We’re all trying to figure out COVID and the new strain. And the flu, I think people forgot about the flu. People literally forgot about the flu during these times, [and] that’s still going around. It’s flu season, so people have forgotten about the flu. 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. But no, I don’t have any response to Kareem. No. At all.”
Abdul-Jabbar’s Substack essay highlights that while comparisons to the flu have been frequently used in minimizing the impact of COVID-19, the total number of deaths and hospitalizations Comparisons to the flu have been frequently used in minimizing the impact of COVID-19 — the common cold less so — but as Abdul-Jabbar’s numbers show, the total number of deaths and hospitalizations is far more serious.