COVID-19 & The NBA: Jordan Supports League Vaccine Plan

It’s time to Break It Down!

Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the reigning NBA G.O.A.T., has come down on the side of the NBA’s strategy for player vaccination. As the League’s preseason is underway, presaging next week’s Season Opener, lots of attention has been garnered by several of the League’s marquee players. 

Andrew Wiggins and Kyrie Irving, stars for the Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets, respectively, have been cited in the last couple of weeks for their controversial stances on the vaccine. Wiggins initially, in interviews, stated his refusal to get the vaccine. Irving has declined to state his vaccination status, saying it’s personal. Both of their positions were more complicated than that of many other players because Health Departments in the cities of San Francisco and New York, where the Warriors and Nets play their home games, have established provisions that forbid allowing unvaccinated players from the home team from entering the arena. The proviso does not apply to players from visiting teams.

On September 28th, LeBron James told the press assembled at the Lakers’ Media Day, that he’d been vaccinated, despite his initial reservations. Ultimately, he concluded it was in the best interest of he and his family to get vaccinated. James said he did not plan to encourage other players to get vaccinated, calling it an individual choice. The Lakers Coach, Frank Vogel, indicated that the team is fully vaccinated. On October 3rd, Steve Nash, the Warrior’s Coach, announced that Wiggins had relented and gotten vaccinated.

There is no NBA vaccine mandate. The Players’ Union declared that a nonstarter at the outset of negotiations about determining and rolling out League-wide Covid restrictions. On October 10, Nets Coach Steve Nash announced the Nets expected to play home games without Kyrie; yesterday, General Manager, Sean Marks, released a statement indicating the team has suspended Kyrie Irving until he gets vaccinated. He added, the team concluded their players must be available full-time.

It is within this context that Jordan’s statement emerges. The six-time Champion and Finals MVP, and current Charlotte Hornets team owner made his statement in the wake of James’ overcoming his vaccine skepticism, Wiggins’ reversal, and Irving’s criticizing the League’s Covid Guidelines and resisting vaccination (which led to his suspension). Jordan, who is 58 years-old, voiced his support by saying:

“I am total in unison with the league, and I think everybody, you know, has been speaking about the vaccinations. And, you know, I’m a firm believer in science and, you know, I’m going to stick with that and hopefully, everybody abides by whatever the league sets as the rules.

I think once everybody buys in, we’re going the be fine.”

Despite the lack of a League-wide mandate, the NBA reports that over 90 percent of the League’s players have been vaccinated, including several entire teams. Andrew Wiggins recently received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after holding out until the start of the NBA’s preseason this month. He admitted, he’s still a skeptic, saying in a press conference after the Warriors and Trailblazers played a preseason game:

“The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA. It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I’m still healthy.

It feels good to play, but getting vaccinated, that’s going to be something that stays in my mind for a long time. It’s not something I wanted to do, but I was kind of forced to.”

In the overall scheme of things, it sounds as if the NBA’s vaccination plan will succeed. Its Ninety percent participation rate dwarfs that of the nation as a whole. It also appears that arenas across the League are implementing protocols to protect fans, players, and anyone who enters the facilities. It’s a long season; it will take time for it to play out in all relevant dimensions. Considering all that has unfolded to date, it’s refreshing to know that while some of the players remain unconvinced regarding the viability of this matter so vital to the health and welfare of all of them, as well as all of us, the G.O.A.T. and the King (and perhaps future G.O.A.T.) are on the same page. “COVID-19 & The NBA: Jordan Supports League Vaccine Plan!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right-hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/michael-jordan-praises-nbas-handling-183505777.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/lebron-james-covid-vaccine-lakers-nba/

https://people.com/sports/nbas-andrew-wiggins-claims-he-felt-forced-to-get-covid-19-shot/

https://www.netsdaily.com/2021/10/12/22722548/marks-kyrie-irving-wont-play-or-practice-with-team-until-eligible-to-be-full-time-participant

And The Winner Is: Bubba!

It’s time to Break It Down!

I’m a southerner, all day long. As the saying goes, “I’m a Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred, and when I die, I’ll be a Tar Heel dead. Speaking of the Tar Heels, the nickname for University of North Carolina (UNC) sports teams, and alumni, and more broadly, for denizens of the North Carolina, the Tar Heel State, the name Bubba has been indelibly integrated into our lexicon of appellations. Since November 14, 2011, Lawrence R. Cunningham, familiarly known as Bubba, has served as UNC’s athletic Director. I digress.

This post is about a different Bubba, Bubba Wallace. Meanwhile, I’ll spare you my varied contemplations about guys called Bubba.

Back to the story. Bubba Wallace made history Monday, becoming just the second Black driver to win NASCAR’s Cup Series race, the association’s top series. Wallace is the first Black man to win the Cup Series race since NASCAR Hall of Fame racer Wendell Scott, in 1963. It would be nearly impossible, and totally inappropriate to omit noting that when Scott won the race, he never took possession of the Trophy. Only this past August, NASCAR presented Scott’s family the winner’s treasure.

On December 1, 1963, Wendell Scott won the Cup Series at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. However, Scott didn’t get to celebrate his win and didn’t receive a trophy as part of the standard post-race presentation. At the end of the race, Buck Baker was flagged the winner and it wasn’t until the official scoring review that race officials determined Scott had won the event by two laps – with Baker finishing second.

Even with that revelation, it took nearly 58 years to approximate righting such an egregious wrong. Scott, who died in 1990, never received the spoils of victory. That Wendell Scott lived more than a quarter of a century after winning the race, and still didn’t get his trophy is an abomination. The fact that it took another 30 plus for NASCAR to award the Trophy posthumously is in a word, shameful. But, if they could wait more than half a century, it’s conceivable they could have somehow rationalized never doing it. I guess such abuses of all things civilized are the bases for the aphorism, “better late than never.”

Bubba Wallace is an Alabama native. Though he claimed not to often think about matters in terms of his being just the second Black driver to win the race, he conceded that when he did, he recognized his win brought a lot of joy and emotion to his family, friends, and fans. He deemed it, “Pretty fitting that it comes here in Talladega.”

Wallace came to notoriety last summer when a noose was found in his garage at Talladega. To come full circle from the circus that broke out over that occasion, had to be satisfying. In 2020, he was NASCAR’s lone Black driver, and drove for racing royalty, Richard Petty’s team. After the kerfuffle, he left Team Petty, and later signed with a new team, that was literally a “new team.” Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin formed a team and made Wallace it first driver. The Cup Series win at Talladega was a breakthrough moment for driver and team. Jordan and Hamlin were both already winners. Monday, however, belonged to Wallace. “And The Winner Is: Bubba!”

I’m done; holla back!

Read my blog anytime by clicking the linkhttp://thesphinxofcharlotte.comFind a new post each Wednesday.

To subscribeclick on Follow in the bottom right-hand corner of my Home Page at http://thesphinxofcharlotte.com; enter your e-mail address in the designated space, and click on “Sign me up.” Subsequent editions of “Break It Down” will be mailed to your in-box.

For more detailed information on a variety of aspects relating to this post, consult the links below:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/04/sport/bubba-wallace-nascar-cup-series-win/index.html

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nascar/news/bubba-wallace-noose-hoax-nascar-facts/97l45h1k337m1ugxiat5k4wzu

https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-protests-for-racial-justice/2020/09/22/915623333/michael-jordan-denny-hamlin-form-nascar-team-with-bubba-wallace-behind-the-wheel