Gregg Popovich, at age 72, is the oldest coach in the NBA.
Which puts him in a high-risk category for COVID-19 and puts him near the front of the line to receive the vaccine as it is rolled out (slowly) across the nation.
Popovich has gotten the first dose of the vaccine and taped a PSA with NBA Cares encouraging others to follow his lead.
"It'll keep me safe, keep my family safe and keep other people safe. It's the right thing to do. Let's do this together." – Coach Pop on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine shot
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 28, 2021
“I’m going to get the COVID-19 vaccine shot. It will keep me safe, keep my family safe and keep other people safe. Wearing masks is important and to get the vaccine does give you an added level of assurance. Science-wise, it’s a no-brainer. It’s the right thing to do so we can all get on track again. Let’s do this together.”
Popovich is the first NBA coach to get the vaccine, although several others also are now eligible.
The NBA is working on an education plan — for both its players and the general public — on why to receive the vaccine. There is hesitancy among some players, and throughout Black communities, to trust that the government and pharmaceutical companies are looking out for their best interest with the vaccine (there is history to back them up).
NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts has said reactions from players to the vaccine run the gamut, from players who want no part of it to others who want to know why they can’t get it tomorrow. The players union is not going to make getting the vaccine mandatory, but those who choose not to could face restrictions during travel or from gathering in groups, among other things. At least for a while.
Others may be unsure, but we know where Popovich stands.