Basketball icon Michael Jordan has divided fans by speaking out on the NBA’s Covid protocols, siding with the league over vaccination while stating he is a “firm believer in science”.
The six-time NBA champion is arguably the most high-profile name to speak out on the contentious issue, describing himself as being firmly behind the much-debated protocols that have seen top stars including the Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins claim they felt forced to become vaccinated.
Asked whether he was at all concerned about league protocols, Jordan responded: “Not at all. Not at all.”
“I am total in unison with the league,” added the hall-of-famer and Chicago Bulls legend.
“Are you concerned with the NBA’s COVID protocols?”Michael Jordan – “Not at all. I am total in unison with the league. Everybody’s been speaking about the vaccinations & I’m a firm believer in science & I’m going to stick with that.”(via @TODAYshow)pic.twitter.com/w1dUXW1tjv
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) October 12, 2021
I’m a firm believer in not being an MJ fan anymore. Glad he spoke up. Now I know.
— Nathaniel Breznau (@NBreznau) October 12, 2021
“And I think everybody has been speaking about the vaccinations. You know, I’m a firm believer in science and I’m going to stick with that.
“Hopefully everybody abides by whatever the league sets the rules. I think once everybody buys in, we’re going be fine.”
Jordan’s comments come the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving looks likely to miss home games because he is not vaccinated.
People saying they won’t wont wear his stuff anymore. You think he cares when he is worth 1.6B? (Estimated) 😂
— Kyle Davis (@TheDaringPastry) October 12, 2021
Science is not something you “believe in”…you either understand it or you do not. Perpetuating science as a belief system is part of the problem.
— Kyle Worrell (@Breadnbutters) October 12, 2021
Wiggins was previously anti-vaccine but then relented, later stating his only options were “to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA”.
Jordan’s remarks contrast those of Los Angeles Lakers talisman LeBron James, who has confirmed he has been vaccinated but has been reluctant to emphatically encourage the public to become jabbed.
Fellow NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently told Yahoo Sports: “Lives are at stake. It’s important here. People are dying.
“I won’t be buying Jordan wear anymore”…..yes…how will he survive in his 1.6 billion fortune.
— Junior (@TheMexicanFurby) October 12, 2021
As if he wasn’t already the 🐐. Another W.
— YDKI (@YouDontKnowISH_) October 11, 2021
“The ignorance that has been perpetrated and the misinformation that has been spread around everywhere has made it impossible for people to get an understanding of what is going on.
“People who say they haven’t finished doing the research yet, really haven’t done any research.”
James confirmed that he took his shots after doing his “own research”, and basketball enthusiasts have given a mixed reception to Charlotte Hornets owner Jordan’s stance.
“I’m a firm believer in not being an MJ fan anymore. Glad he spoke up. Now I know,” one said.
W MJ🐐,LeBron would never a believer in science.
— 0fficialMike🐐➐ (@Le6Ls) October 12, 2021
This is semantics, if you think it’s a good idea to use data, facts, and scientific processes for the benefit of yourself and others then you believe in science 🤷🏿♂️
— BigDell23🇺🇸🇦🇺 (@BigDell23) October 12, 2021
“Science is not something you ‘believe in’…you either understand it or you do not. Perpetuating science as a belief system is part of the problem,” said another.
Critics also threatened to boycott his famous Air Jordan brand. “People saying they won’t wont wear his stuff anymore. You think he cares when he is worth an [estimated] $1.6 billion?,” asked one mocking riposte.
There were also remarks attacking James, of whom Abdul-Jabbar said: “I admire him and have affection for him. But this time, LeBron is just plain wrong – and his being wrong could be deadly, especially to the Black community.”
“This is why he will always be better than Lebron,” one fan said of Jordan.