Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Responds To John Stockton’s Mask/Vaccine Statements
SALT LAKE CITY – NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar responded to the statements made about masks and COVID-19 vaccines that were released by Utah Jazz legend John Stockton.
“I think statements like that make the public look upon athletes basically as dumb jocks, for trying to explain away something that is obviously a pandemic,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “It doesn’t make sense what he’s saying. This is a preventative measure that has been useful in many different circumstances. I don’t understand anyone saying anything else.”
Stockton’s season tickets for his alma mater were suspended because of his failure to comply with the school’s mask mandate, according to the former basketball player via The Spokesman-Review.
The school’s mandate requires all basketball game attendees to wear a mask.
Stockton’s tickets for home games at the McCarthey Athletic Center, where his No. 12 jersey hangs in the rafters, have been suspended over the NBA great’s defiance to Gonzaga’s mask mandate amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The former Jazzman told The Spokesman-Review that Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford recently informed him of the school’s decision to suspend his tickets. Stockton called the conversation “congenial” but “not pleasant.”
“Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit,” Stockton told The Spokesman-Review on Saturday, January 22. “Therefore they received complaints and felt like from whatever the higher-ups – those weren’t discussed, but from whatever it was higher up – they were going to have to either ask me to wear a mask or they were going to suspend my tickets.”
Stockton said the suspension puts stress on the relationship with his Alma Mater.
“I think certainly it stresses (the relationship with Gonzaga). I’m pretty connected to the school,” Stockton said. “I’ve been part of this campus since I was probably five or six years old. I was just born a couple blocks away and sneaking into the gym and selling programs to get into games since I was a small boy. So, it’s strained but not broken, and I’m sure we’ll get through it, but it’s not without some conflict.”
Stockton was also asked if he’d thought about wearing a mask in order to keep his season tickets.
“Of course. You consider everything, every option when you’re presented with something like that, and I considered it in great detail,” the former Jazzman replied.
In addition to his disagreement with Gonzaga’s mandate, Stockton has been outspoken against COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic. In July 2021, the legendary Jazz point guard shared his anti-vaccination opinions in a documentary titled, “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed.”
During his conversation with The Spokesman-Review, Stockton falsely claimed that more than 100 professional athletes have died because of vaccination.
Stockton’s assertions have not been backed up by medical or scientific data.
“I think it’s highly recorded now, there’s 150 I believe now, it’s over 100 professional athletes dead – professional athletes – the prime of their life, dropping dead that are vaccinated, right on the pitch, right on the field, right on the court,” Stockton said in the interview.
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