Stephen A. Smith On LeBron James Keeping His COVID-19 Vaccine Decision Among His Family: ‘This Is Not The Time To Get Private’

Stephen A. Smith used Tuesday’s episode of First Take to respond to comments made by LeBron James about the COVID-19 vaccine prior to the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. James, while meeting with the media, did not say whether or not he plans on taking one of the vaccines, but rather, that he intends on keeping that decision among his family.

“That’s a conversation that my family and I will have. Pretty much keep that to a private thing,” James said, per Mark Medina of USA Today. “Obviously I saw Adam had his comments about the vaccination. But things like that, when you decide to do something, that’s a conversation between you and your family and not for everybody. I’ll keep it that way.”

Smith, on Tuesday, expressed that while he understands any sort of apprehension that James has — citing “this nation’s history, its unethical behavior when it came to using Black folks as guinea pigs” — he believes there is value to James being public about taking it because of his influence, particularly due to the fact that the Black community has been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

He announced that, despite his hesitancy due to things like sharing the concerns James has and side-effects associated with the vaccine, he plans to get the first dose of the vaccine “today,” and mentioned that Tyler Perry made it a point to publicize getting the vaccine, something that he believes is important.

With James, he believes that there would be great benefit to him being vocal about getting the vaccine.

“I say this to LeBron James, my brother, all of our brothers, who’s an incredibly, incredibly influential figure,” Smith said. “I would say to him, he has taken positions on many, many, many things of incredible importance to our community. One could easily argue when you see the amount of deaths that have come associated with COVID-19, it’s very little that he has encountered that is more challenging or daunting than this, and if you could speak up about those things, you just might want to think about speaking up about this.”

His comments then became more pointed, saying that while he has no intention of condemning James, “Because he is who he is, and he has acknowledged who he is, this is not the time to get private. Not on this. And that’s why I decided I’m not gonna be private about it as well.”

Max Kellerman, who Smith credited for playing a big role warming him up to the idea of being forthcoming here, praised Smith for using his platform like this, and after First Take went off the air, Smith went to Twitter to continue the conversation.

James has not responded to any of Smith’s remarks. If you’d like to watch the video of Smith’s remarks, head on over to Mediaite.