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‘You’re letting them down’: Magic Johnson advises Kyrie Irving to take vaccine

'You're letting them down': Magic Johnson advises Kyrie Irving to take vaccine
Kyrie Irving takes pictures with fans after surprise visit to AEBL on Aug. 19, 2017. (Photo by Rashad Milligan for rolling out)

NBA legend Magic Johnson has spoken.

The former longtime Los Angeles Lakers point guard appeared on “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday, Oct. 19 to discuss the start of the NBA’s 75th season and to advocate for citizens to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“That’s why I got my two shots and put it out on social media,” Johnson said. “I wanted, especially my community, to know that first of all, it’s safe and the players, again, the people listen to them. They follow them, that’s very important.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told CBS that 96% of NBA players are vaccinated, but he’d like to see the percentage increase to 100% in the near future.

The biggest name who hasn’t been vaccinated yet is Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving. Irving, a seven-time All-Star, 2016 champion and widely-regarded as one of the best point guards in the league, has said he hasn’t received the shot “to be a voice for the voiceless” and the employees who are losing their jobs due to employer vaccine mandates, via his Instagram Live. Irving couldn’t practice with the team in the preseason due to the vaccine mandate in Brooklyn and New York City. The team ultimately decided, in a group that included Nets stars Kevin Durant and James Harden, to not allow Irving to join the team until he is fully eligible to participate with the Nets.

The NBA opened the regular season on Tuesday, Oct. 19, as the Irving-less Nets lost to the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks 127-104. Last season, Irving averaged 26.9 points per game.

“You have said to your teammates, ‘I’m going to be there for you,'” Johnson said. “Well, you can’t be there if you don’t get vaccinated. You’re letting them down. Then, that hurts our chances of winning a championship. I would never do that to my teammates. Never.”

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