Bill Russell receives COVID-19 vaccine as part of NBA’s PSA efforts
Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell became the latest NBA icon to participate in the league’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the COVID-19 vaccine by receiving it on camera.
Russell, an 11-time NBA champion, five-time NBA MVP, Hall of Famer and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient — among innumerable other awards, accolades and honors — joins fellow legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich as league luminaries who have signed on as a spokesperson for the NBA’s PSA initiatives.
The public service announcement shared on social media Thursday by the NBA features highlights from Russell’s outstanding career as well as footage of the icon receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I just arrived to get my COVID shot, and this is one shot I won’t block. Let’s do this together. To learn more about vaccines, visit https://t.co/WrLXSIbtxe.” – 11-time NBA Champion @RealBillRussell pic.twitter.com/nQxB3UrL0w— NBA (@NBA) February 4, 2021
“I just arrived to get my COVID shot, and this is one shot I won’t block,” Russell said in the video while donning a Celtics mask and a Lakers hat bearing the initials of the late Kobe Bryant. “No Celtics were harmed during my shot. Let’s do this together.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver revealed earlier this month that the NBA has contemplated whether to utilize players’ eventual COVID-19 vaccinations to encourage the league’s fans, among other specific populations, to do the same.
Many public health experts have stated having high-profile members of particular communities support vaccinations — including by publicly receiving it — can have a tremendous impact on developing trust in the process.
However, there has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including concerns that privileged populations, such as professional athletes, could receive preferential treatment in the process.
In light of the speculation, Silver recently reiterated a pledge made in December that the NBA would not “jump the line in any form whatsoever” when it comes to receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.