Charles Barkley Pushes Back on Anti-Vax Athletes


Charles Barkley made an impassioned appeal for vaccines on Tuesday night in response to anti-vaccine NBA athletes.

There was a lot of discussion about Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get the shot during the TNT halftime show. Irving has been benched by the Brooklyn Nets, and he’s not the only NBA player who has received attention for anti-vaccine sentiments.

Kenny Smith said he understands Irving’s position and argued it comes down to how comfortable people are based on “what you’ve read and what you understand.”

Barkley very visibly grimaced at Smith’s commentary and started off by saying, “First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself, you get it for other people.”

“I got vaccinated. I can’t wait to get the booster,” he continued. “You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself. Like Adam [Silver] said, you get vaccinated for your family first, you get vaccinated for your teammates second.”

“I think everybody should get vaccinated,” Barkley said.

He rejected the idea that Irving can be compared to Muhammad Ali, remarking, “This guy’s gonna make $17 million for sitting at home.”

Barkley again emphasized that people do not get vaccinated just for themselves. He also gave a shoutout to former teammate Cedric Ceballos, who was hospitalized in the ICU with covid-19 for weeks.

Ceballos was in the hospital for 20 days with serious symptoms before returning home in late September. In an Instagram post he said, “Hello everyone, after 20 straight days on death row, through his grace and your well wishes and prayers, I AM HOME.”

You can watch Barkley’s commentary above, via TNT.

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