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Lakers Legend Magic Johnson On Unvaccinated Players: 'I Would Never Do That To My Teammates'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson Monday addressed the situation surrounding NBA players who have refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

69th NBA All-Star Game
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 16: Magic Johnson speaks to the crowd before the 69th NBA All-Star Game at the United Center on February 16, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

In an interview with CBS News, Johnson said that players who go unvaccinated are "letting down" their teammates.

"You have said to your teammates, 'I'm gonna be there for you,'" Johnson said. "Well you can't be there if you don't get vaccinated. You letting them down. And then that hurts our chances of winning a championship. I would never do that to my teammates. Never."

The most high-profile case involves Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. New York City has mandated that players for home teams be vaccinated to play. The Nets announced last week that Irving will not be able to join the team until he is fully vaccinated.

Magic Johnson has been vocal about getting the vaccine. He was publicly vaccinated back in March at USC.

"I got my two shots and made sure I put it out on social media," Johnson said. "I wanted, especially my community to know, first of all, it's safe. And the players, again, people listen to them, they follow them. That's very important."

The entire Lakers franchise is purportedly fully vaccinated. Lakers superstar LeBron James at the start of training camp late last month confirmed that he has been vaccinated. In March, James said that his decision regarding whether or not to get vaccinated was a private one.

That silence prompted criticism from another Lakers legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who penned an essay on the subject earlier this month, in which he wrote, "LeBron is just plain wrong—and his being wrong could be deadly, especially to the Black community."

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