Earvin “Magic” Johnson has earned the right to share his opinions on today’s NBA, considering he is one of the legends that helped transform the league into what it is in modern times. The Hall of Fame star offered his thoughts on unvaccinated players in the league and expressed some disappointment.
Ahead of this season opener between the reigning champions in the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets, Johnson sat down with CBS News to share his new role as an ambassador for the NBA’s 75th Anniversary campaign. The legendary Los Angeles Lakers legend, affable as always, shared his enthusiasm for the new role and added jokingly that he’s been an ambassador for the sport for over four decades and counting.
Considering Johnson’s own woes with health and how his HIV diagnosis both shook up and transformed the game, he’s become an outspoken advocate on health matters. When asked about Kyrie Irving’s decision not to follow vaccination guidelines in New York in order to suit up for the Nets, Johnson sternly expressed how Irving’s decision could hurt the team more than anything.
“You have said to your teammates that you are going to be there for them, well, you can’t be there if you don’t get vaccinated,” Johnson told CBS News. “You letting them down and then that hurts our chances of winning a championship, I would never do that to my teammates. Never.”
Stars such as Golden State Warriors player Andrew Wiggins was initially resistant to taking the vaccine but did so after mounting a minor protest. The Nets toyed with the idea of playing Irving on a partial schedule but have instead elected to suspend him until he receives the vaccination.