Magic Johnson on unvaccinated NBA players: ‘I would never do that to my teammates’

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises speaks onstage.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises speaks onstage. Photo credit Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Yext

Former Los Angeles Lakers president and player Magic Johnson said Monday that NBA players who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are “letting down” their teammates and fans.

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

The Lakers revealed their entire team is fully vaccinated. But the Brookly Nets announced last week that it would play games without Kyrie Irving. The point guard has not received the vaccine as mandated by New York City.

Johnson, who received his vaccine publicly in March, said he supports vaccination efforts and requirements.

“I got my two shots and made sure I put it out on social media,” the basketball legend 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.”