Stephen A. Smith scolds LeBron James for waiting months to admit he’s vaccinated

The NBA superstar admitted this week he took the jab but the ESPN personality says he waited too long to reveal the news

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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is calling out LeBron James for staying quiet for too long about his COVID vaccination status.

As previously reported by theGRIO, the NBA superstar admitted this week he took the jab.

“I know that for me, I can speak about myself,” James said at the Lakers media day on Tuesday, Sports Illustrated reports. “I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family, and things of that nature. I know that I was very [skeptical] about it all, but after doing my research, and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and for my friends, and that’s why I decided to do it.”

Smith is questioning what took James so long to publicly admit he’s been vaccinated. 

“I don’t think he needs to be more vocal now, but what he did yesterday, he should have done a long time ago,” Smith said Wednesday on First Take, Mediaite reports. 

“He is an individual that has been an incredible role model on so many levels and needs to be applauded for all of that,” Smith said. “He took the liberty to take the bull by the horn and be front and center on a plethora of issues that affect our community.”

“I was hesitant to take the vaccine myself,” Smith admitted. “A guy by the name of Dennis Pullin…brings me to an ICU where I saw nothing in there but Black people because so many Black people were hesitant to take the vaccine…when you saw the detrimental impact that it was having on our community, that’s when I felt compelled to step up and take the vaccine.”

LeBron James thegrio.com
LeBron James at the “Space Jam: A New Legacy” premiere on July 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Smith believes James could have saved the lives of many Black people who died from COVID had he joined the pro-vax movement sooner. 

“People were dying in our community,” Smith said. “I feel like anybody who had a voice should have done their research sooner than later and made sure they made a decision and moved forward and at least be open about what YOU chose to do.”

“Vaccines been out for a damn year a near now, and we just heard from LeBron James yesterday,” Smith added.

In March, Smith made an emotional plea to the LA Lakers superstar to publicly speak out about his vaccine plans, theGRIO reported. His comments came after James was asked by reporters if he would get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“That’s a conversation that my family and I will have. Pretty much keep that to a private thing,” James responded at the time.

He continued, “Obviously, I saw Adam (Silver) had his comments about the vaccination. But things like that, when you decide to do something, that’s a conversation between you and your family and not for everybody. I’ll keep it that way.”

Stephan A. Smith speaks on LeBron James and COVID-19 vaccine Photo: ESPN+ screenshot

Smith opined that while he respects James’ decision to be cautious given “this nation’s history,” and “its unethical behavior when it came to using Black folk as guinea pigs in our lives,” ultimately his influence, given James’ history of social justice advocacy, could be impactful.

“I say this to LeBron James, my brother, all of our brothers, who’s an incredibly, incredibly influential figure, I would say to him, he has taken positions on many, many, many things of incredible importance to our community,” Smith said.

“One could easily argue when you see the amount of deaths that have come associated with COVID-19, it’s very little that he has encountered that is more challenging or daunting than this, and if you could speak up about those things, you just might want to think about speaking up about this.”

This article contains additional reporting from Blue Telusma

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