Lakers’ LeBron James declines to respond to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism

Lakers forward LeBron James reacts after blocking a shot by Houston Rockets forward David Nwaba.
Lakers forward LeBron James reacts after blocking a shot by Houston Rockets forward David Nwaba during the second half Tuesday in Houston.
(Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press)

LeBron James declined to respond to an essay written by NBA Hall of Famer and Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar that criticized James for a social media post about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last weekend, James posted a photo of three identical Spiderman cartoons pointing at one another. Over the art, the words “cold,” “flu” and “COVID.” The caption included a shrugging emoji and the words “Help me out folks.”

Abdul-Jabbar posted an essay through his substack describing the racial politics of medicine and how James’ post equating the three ailments did a disservice to a community he’s otherwise committed to helping.


Abdul-Jabbar wrote that the post “was a blow” to James’ “worthy legacy.”

“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 us worse by postponing our health and economic recovery,” he wrote.

Asked about the essay following his team’s win Tuesday in Houston, James declined to address it directly.

LeBron James starts at center, Russell Westbrook also has a triple-double, and the Lakers beat the Rockets 132-123 on Tuesday night in Houston.

Dec. 28, 2021

“No, I don’t have a response to Kareem at all,” James said. “And if you saw the post and you read the tag, you’re literally, honestly asking, ‘Help me out?’ Help me kind of figure it all out. We’re all trying to figure this pandemic out. We’re all trying to figure out COVID and the new strains and the flu. I think people forgot about the flu. People literally forgot about the flu during these times. Like, that’s still going around. This is flu season. So people have forgotten about the flu. People have forgotten about common colds. That happen, especially with a lot of our kids that are in school. My daughter is in first grade so a lot of these kids are getting common colds and getting the flu.

“But, no. I don’t have any response to Kareem.”

Only four players on the Lakers’ main roster have yet to spend any time in the NBA’s health and safety protocols related to COVID-19.