The NBA is scrambling, along with much of the world, to get a handle on the latest COVID-19 variant that is spreading like wildfire. Teams across the league are dealing with breakouts, and players, coaches, and executives have expressed frustration in navigating the treacherous scenarios in front of them. Earlier this season, LeBron James was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols and, while he only missed one game, James used the words “confused, frustrated, angry” to describe his feelings. Fast-forward a few weeks, and James made headlines with an Instagram post that seemingly compared COVID to the cold and flu.
From there, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar used his considerable public platform to criticize James for promoting vaccine hesitancy, among other issues. On Tuesday, James was asked about Abdul-Jabbar’s sentiments, and he essentially declined to share a direct response.
LeBron James said he did not have any response to @kaj33's essay this week calling out his Instagram post equating Covid-19 with the cold and the flu. He then said people seem to have forgotten about the flu and colds amid the coronavirus pandemic.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 29, 2021
However, James did say quite a few words in an attempt to explain his intended desire.
“No, I don’t have a response to Kareem at all,” James said, via Harrison Faigen of SB Nation’s Silver Screen and Roll. “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 like literally forgot about the flu during these times, like that’s still going around. It’s flu season, so people have forgot about the flu. People have forgot about common colds. That happens, especially with a lot of our kids that’s in school. My daughter is in first grade, so a lot of these kids are getting like common colds and getting the flu. But no, I don’t have any response to Kareem. No. At all.”
While it is true that the flu and the common cold are not good, the issue many have with James is the apparent conflation of the three ailments as similar, not whether the flu and the common cold are still prevalent in a world that includes COVID. It will be interesting to see if there are additional public comments from James on this issue, or even Abdul-Jabbar may respond to this non-response.