The league’s push to promote the COVID-19 vaccine just got another strong ally in former United States President Barack Obama. The ex-POTUS, who continues to be supportive of the NBA and its advocacies outside basketball, was joined by Hall-of-Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley in an NBC TV special called Roll Up Your Sleeves on Sunday.
“As the vaccine becomes more available, I want to make sure that our communities, particularly ones, African-American, Latino, as well as young people understand that this will save lives and allow people to get their lives back to normal. And the sooner we get more people vaccinated, the better off we’re going to be,” Obama said.
Charles and @Shaq agree: we can all help end this pandemic by getting the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s the only way to keep everyone safe and help us get back to all the things we miss most—from seeing family and friends to watching sports in person. pic.twitter.com/y2DlprGPds
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 18, 2021
Charles Barkley, on the other hand, supported former President Obama by making a plea to the African-American community to at least consider getting the vaccine for their families’ sake.
“I cannot wait,” Chuck tole president Obama said. “I think it’s important for us to keep talking about the vaccine. So I’m telling my friends, ‘Yo, man, forget what happened back in the day. Every Black person, please go out and get vaccinated.”
Shaquille O’Neal added that his family has already been vaccinated due to having underlying health conditions.
“I’m not worried about me and my family. I’m worried about the average mom and dad,” he said.
Some NBA franchises, meanwhile, have already begun opening arenas to limited capacity as restrictions ease up in some states. While the league has not made the vaccine a mandatory requirement to its players, Commissioner Adam Silver has already given incentives to those who got the shot. Barack Obama, Shaq, and Charles Barkley are doing their part to help dispel fear on the COVID-19 vaccine.