What a team! The starting lineup: former President Barrack Obama and NBA Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. The mission” encourage Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines.
The three appeared on a special NBC television program this past weekend (as of this writing) to talk about people getting – and needing to get – the Covid vaccine. Even Shaq’s mom made an appearance on the show just before Obama joined them.
The former President knows his NBA coverage. In a reference to Shaq and Barkley’s roles on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” program, Obama said, “So I’m playing Kenny the Jet,” a reference to their TNT partner Kenny Smith.
The former President – a big sports fan – asked about Barkley’s golf game (if you can even call it a game). “Has this improved your golf game, brother?” Obama asked regarding Barkley’s time in quarantine. “I’m playing great right now. I’m almost back to normal,” Barkley replied.
Cracked O’Neal: “Chuck, you know it’s a federal offense to lie to the president.”
Jokes aside, the goal of the program was to talk to Americans about the need to get the vaccine. Obama said, “I appreciate you guys doing this. Part of our goal here is to make sure that everybody who’s been going through so much in COVID understands the need and the urgency of our communities getting vaccinated.”
See the full story and video here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2021/04/18/barck-obama-charles-barkley-shaq-encourage-covid-19-vaccines/7280346002/
He continued: “Now, as the vaccine becomes more available, I want to make sure that our communities, particularly ones — African American, Latino — as well as young people understand that this will save lives and allow people to get their lives back to normal. The sooner we get more people vaccinated the better off we’re going to be.”
Barkley reported he’s just about to get his second vaccine shot, and O’Neal said he’s been vaccinated, along with family members with underlying conditions. “But I’m not worried about me or my family. I’m worried about the average mom and dad,” O’Neal said.
“I think it’s important for us to keep talking about the vaccine,” Barkley said. Barkley also said he’s encouraged his friends to get the vaccine and to not worry about past medical transgressions against the Black community — such as the Tuskegee Experiment, which Obama discussed in greater depth later in the segment.
Obama said underlying health conditions are particularly prevalent in minority communities, making them especially susceptible to the coronavirus, and said new COVID-19 variants are impacting young people in greater ways than seen previously.
“Part of the reason to get vaccinated is because it makes everybody safer,” Obama said.
Thanks to USA TODAY for the original report on this story. You can see more here.