Magic Johnson on taking COVID-19 vaccine, Lakers’ gamers consolation stage and attending video games


When he reconnected together with his former colleague, Magic Johnson didn’t simply focus on the state of the Los Angeles Lakers with common supervisor Rob Pelinka. The 2 additionally talked about Johnson not too long ago taking the COVID-19 vaccine, and the way that would do extra than simply defend himself from the virus.

“Rob instructed me loads of guys, that once I acquired mine, they felt just a little bit higher,” Johnson instructed USA TODAY Sports activities on Wednesday. “That’s what occurs. Guys need to see different guys [get it], and see if it really works. They observe that, hopefully.”

Extra work must be achieved.

Lakers controlling governor Jeanie Buss and Lakers ahead Montrezl Harrell posted not too long ago on their respective social media accounts that they obtained the COVID-19 vaccine. However it isn’t clear what number of different gamers have taken it, together with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Nonetheless, Lakers coach Frank Vogel mentioned Wednesday the group has but to turn out to be 85 p.c vaccinated.

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As soon as NBA groups attain that threshold, the league’s well being and security protocols permits them to go to their observe facility with out masks in addition to eat meals on the crew aircraft. Particular person vaccinated gamers have further freedoms, together with outside eating, inviting family and friends at dwelling and on the street with out testing and never needing to quarantine after potential publicity.

So when Johnson talked final week with Buss, Pelinka and Linda Rambis (the Lakers’ government director of group relations & particular initiatives), he discovered some encouraging information concerning the gamers’ consolation stage with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Magic Johnson (left) gives a thumbs-up after getting a vaccine last month, as a part of a vaccination awareness event at USC, in Los Angeles.

Magic Johnson (left) offers a thumbs-up after getting a vaccine final month, as part of a vaccination consciousness occasion at USC, in Los Angeles.

“They’d discussions with the gamers. I believe they’d determined — most of them — to take it and to get vaccinated,” Johnson mentioned. “They only have to seek out out when. At the moment, they’d not achieved that. So I don’t know once they’re going to do it. However I believe as soon as a pacesetter like a crew within the Lakers and a pacesetter like LeBron step up, guys will really feel extra comfy. Nevertheless it’s all about getting the knowledge.”

The NBA and the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation haven’t required gamers to take the COVID-19 vaccine. They’re additionally conscious that a few of the predominantly Black gamers have some mistrust stemming from the fallout of the unethical Tuskegee Syphilis Examine carried out from 1932 to 1972.

However the NBA has hosted vaccine training classes for the league’s present and former gamers, workers members and households that has included Dr. Leroy Sims, the NBA’s senior vp of medical affairs. The NBA additionally launched 4 PSA’s concerning the COVID-19 vaccine that featured 5 former Black NBA gamers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Invoice Russell, Julius Erving, Dave Bing, Wayne Embry), a white head coach (San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich) and a white NBA government (Jerry West).

Johnson is just not but among the many NBA luminaries which have recorded a PSA, however he has additionally been vocally supportive of the COVID-19 vaccine on his social media channels.

“Large affect. It’s not simply affect on the gamers of right this moment, but additionally within the Black group,” Johnson mentioned. “These are males who’ve been leaders not simply on the basketball courtroom, however locally as nicely. Once they step up and take it, there’s a consolation stage for different folks. That’s what they bring about. We glance to individuals who seem like us and who we belief.”

In what he thought-about “most likely a very powerful query,” Johnson additionally researched whether or not he would turn out to be compromised since he has had HIV for almost 30 years. So Johnson contacted Dr. David Ho, who has been Johnson’s doctor, one of many preeminent medical doctors within the AIDS analysis group and among the many medical consultants the NBA consulted when formulizing its well being and security protocols.

“Dr. Ho instructed me no issues. He inspired me to take it,” Johnson mentioned. “Whenever you acquired two of the main infectious medical doctors that learn about all the illnesses in Dr. Fauci and Dr. Ho, you step on up and also you do it.”

So, Johnson obtained his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine on March 24 at College of Southern California’s mass vaccination website. Johnson obtained his second shot of the Pfizer vaccine on April 13. How has his physique reacted since then?

“No response,” Johnson mentioned. “That has been nice. Only a sore arm. I’ve been so completely satisfied.”

In spite of everything, Johnson mentioned his spouse (Cookie), three kids (Andre, EJ, Elisa), mother and father, in-laws and siblings have additionally obtained not less than one COVID-19 shot. Johnson has since attended the Dodgers’ season opener and has plans to attend future Dodgers, Lakers, LAFC and Sparks video games.

“I’m going. Are you kidding me?” Johnson mentioned with pleasure about attending Lakers’ video games. “You’re getting AD and LeBron again, and the playoffs are proper right here. I need to get again towards having fun with what I used to do, and the traditional life-style that I used to have. We’re not going to be all the best way again. However not less than I can go.”

Observe USA TODAY NBA author Mark Medina on Twitter, Fb and Instagram.

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Magic Johnson hoping NBA gamers observe his lead and get vaccinated



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