Bill Russell on receiving COVID-19 vaccine: ‘This is one shot I won’t block’
Nearly five decades after a 14-year NBA career that included 11 league championships, 12 all-star appearances and five MVP awards, Boston Celtics luminary Bill Russell just became an NBA pioneer in a different way.
Russell, who turns 87 on Feb. 13, became the third notable NBA figure to receive the coronavirus vaccine both for his health and to help the league’s efforts to promote it.
“I just arrived to get my COVID shot, and this is one shot I won’t block,” Russell said in an NBA-sanctioned PSA. “No Celtics were harmed during my shot. Let’s do this together. To learn more about vaccines, visit CDC.gov.”
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and former Los Angeles Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also received the COVID-19 vaccine and recorded NBA-sanctioned PSA to urge the general public to receive one as well.
The NBA has insisted that players, coaches and staff members will not receive the vaccine ahead of whom the CDC considers a bigger priority, including frontline workers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions. But the NBA has worked with the Ad Council and COVID-19 Prevention Network to promote the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.