Former professional basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Thursday on "CBS Mornings" that promoting the need for people to get the COVID vaccination was an extension of Black Lives Matter.

Former professional basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Thursday on "CBS Mornings" that promoting the need for people to get the COVID vaccination was an extension of Black Lives Matter.

Former professional basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Thursday on “CBS Mornings” that promoting the need for people to get the COVID vaccination was an extension of Black Lives Matter.

Co-host Vladimir Duthiers said, “You’ve called for the NBA to insist that all players and staff be vaccinated. And if they refuse, you believe they should be removed from the team. Why do you feel so strongly about that?”

Abdul-Jabbar said, “I think that when we ignore a pandemic that is killing people just because some people don’t feel like doing some research, I can’t go along with that. This COVID thing is killing black people and brown people at a ridiculous rate. So you know, it’s really an extension of Black Lives Matter. We have to make this obvious and let people know how important it is.”

He added, “Anyone who has a public platform like a professional athlete, they should use their platform in a way that helps their community.”

Discussing celebrities campaigning for the Polio vaccine in the 1950s, Duthiers said, “That seemed to work. What do you think is different now?”

Abdul-Jabbar said, “I don’t know what’s different now. The Polio vaccine was so instrumental in eliminating that disease. So you know, what’s the problem? This, to me, seems more like willful ignorance than it is like a legitimate concern. You know, that bothers me a lot.”

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Pam Key