Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James says he's "trying to figure this pandemic out" after sharing a COVID-19 meme that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slammed as "uninformed."
James recently posted a meme on Instagram that shows three versions of Spider-Man pointing at each other, with one labeled "COVID," another labeled "flu," and the third labeled "cold." He seemed to be implying he's unsure of the difference between the three, and he captioned the image, "Help me out folks." Former Lakers player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a Substack post slammed James over this, writing, "By posting the uninformed meme, LeBron has encouraged vaccine hesitancy which puts lives and livelihoods at risk."
When asked for comment, James said he doesn't "have a response to Kareem at all," per Uproxx.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
"[I'm] literally honestly asking, 'help me out,'" James said. "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 like literally forgot about the flu during these times, that's still going around. It's flu season, so people have forgot about the flu. People have forgot about common colds."
In his post calling out James, Abdul-Jabbar alleged the Lakers star has "given support to those not getting vaccinated," suggesting that if he's "concerned about the flu," he can "help promote the flu vaccination," as well. The criticism comes after James confirmed in September he had been vaccinated against COVID-19 but declined to encourage others to do the same.
"We're not talking about something that's political, or racism, or police brutality, or things of that nature," James said at the time. "We're talking about people's bodies and wellbeings. So I don't feel like, for me personally, that I should get involved in what other people should do for their bodies and their livelihoods. … That's not my job."
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.