Celebrated Utah Jazz point guard and former Gonzaga men’s basketball player (1980-84), John Stockton has been on the side of the zero-mask movement and prompted the media to media to lash out at the Hall of Famer for his viewpoint.
As relayed by OutKick’s Meg Turner, “Stockton has taken a strong stance against COVID-19 vaccines, shutdown measures and mask mandates, initially offering his views last June in a documentary titled, ‘COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed.'”
As a result of being unmasked at a recent Gonzaga home contest, Stockton is now banned from attending games for his alma mater until 2022-23.
COVID restrictions advocate and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared on CNN to discuss Stockton’s mask defiance and denigrated Stockton by repeating outdated insight on the pandemic.
“I think statements like (Stockton’s) make the public look upon athletes as basically dumb jocks for trying to explain away something this is obviously a pandemic, and the best way to fight pandemics is through vaccination and testing,” Abdul-Jabbar said, via BasketNews.
He added, “Those are the means by which we identify the problem and do our best to mitigate it.
Abdul-Jabbar, 74, asserted his opinion on behalf of the basketball community, despite growing pushback on protocols voiced by current stars like LeBron James.
James has reiterated his opposition toward the Association’s stringent COVID-19 protocols after watching the isolation rule and frequent testing hinder vaccinated players’ status — notably on a weary Lakers team — which draws more logic from Stockton’s camp than Abdul-Jabbar’s.
“I don’t understand anyone saying anything else that makes sense. It doesn’t make sense what he’s saying,” Abdul-Jabbar stated. “This is a preventative measure that has been useful in many different circumstances.”
Stockton responded to Gonzaga’s ban, claiming attendees were reporting the Utah legend for being maskless.
“Basically, it came down to; they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit,” Stockton said.
“And therefore they received complaints and felt like from whatever the higher-ups — those weren’t discussed, but from whatever it was higher up — they were going to have to suspend my tickets.”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela