LeBron James Responds To Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Slamming Him Over COVID-19 Meme

The NBA Hall of Famer took issue with James’ Instagram post.

Both Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James are Los Angeles Lakers legends, and it’s safe to say they want to get through the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible. That said, they have slightly differing opinions about COVID-19 and its seriousness.

Late last week, James posted a Spiderman pointing meme on Instagram, insinuating that the common cold, influenza and the coronavirus are similar to one another regarding symptoms, hospitalizations and death rate. He captioned the post, “Help me out folks.”

The post remains up for all 106 million of LeBron’s IG followers to see.

Abdul-Jabbar, who has been an advocate for everyone to wear masks and get vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19, took issue with the post and penned an essay via his Substack in hopes that James would be more responsible with his social media posts regarding the pandemic.

"With 106 million Instagram followers, making such a post is automatically politically impactful because he questions the validity of the efforts to get the country vaccinated,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “As is evident by some of the comments that cheer LeBron’s post, he’s given support to those not getting vaccinated, which makes the situation for all of worse by postponing our health and economic recovery.

RELATED: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Slams Aaron Rodgers For Lying About Vaccination Status

"The CDC reports that those who are unvaccinated are 9 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital and 14 times more likely to die from COVID than those vaccinated,” he continued. “The number rises to 20 times more likely when compared to someone who’s gotten a booster shot. By posting the uninformed meme, LeBron has encouraged vaccine hesitancy which puts lives and livelihoods at risk."

Abdul-Jabbar also relayed numbers showing COVID-19, the flu and the common cold are significantly different when it comes to mortality:

"To directly address LeBron’s confusion, no one thinks colds and the flu aren’t serious. In the 2019-2020 flu season, 400,000 people were hospitalized and 22,000 people died. In 2020, 385,428 people died of COVID-19, while so far in 2021, 423,558 have died in the U.S., for a total of 808,986 deaths. Experts agree that COVID-19 is at least 10 times more lethal than the flu. As for the common cold, death is extremely rare."

After the Lakers’ 132-123 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday (December 28), James initially responded by saying he doesn’t have a response to Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism, but then doubled down on the idea that the flu and common cold are similarly serious.

“No, I don't have a response to Kareem at all. And if you saw the post and you read the tag, you know that I'm literally, honestly asking, 'help me out,'” said James according to Silver Screen and Roll’s Harrison Feigen. “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.'”

Comparisons to the flu have been frequently used in minimizing the impact of COVID-19. As Abdul-Jabbar's numbers show however, the total number of deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 is far more serious.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive newsletters, marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. For more information about our data practices, consult our Privacy Policy.