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Whitlock: NBA star Kyrie Irving is Muhammad Ali, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has abandoned his religious convictions
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Whitlock: NBA star Kyrie Irving is Muhammad Ali, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has abandoned his religious convictions

Rolling Stone Magazine and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sold out. They're flacks for the establishment now, fighting to uphold vaccine conscription. Kyrie Irving is Muhammad Ali, a conscientious objector resisting an unjust culture war.

Over the weekend, Rolling Stone published a long-winded hit piece on Irving and other NBA players who are reluctant to take the experimental COVID vaccines. According to Rolling Stone, anti-vax NBA players are standing in the way of the league imposing a vaccine mandate. This is a bad look for a league that prides itself on being to the left of Karl Marx. Irving is seen as the leader of the anti-vaxxers who are pushing around the NBA, according to the writer Matt Sullivan.

The article painted Irving as a nutjob. It criticized him for liking posts from an Instagram account that previously posted messages alleging conspiracies against black people. The magazine trotted out 74-year-old Abdul-Jabbar, a 1960s radical who supported Ali, to reprise the role of David Susskind, the 1960s television host who shredded Ali for refusing induction into the military.

"The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team," Lew Al-Sellout told Rolling Stone. "There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, staff, and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research ...

"They are failing to live up to the responsibilities that come with celebrity. Athletes are under no obligation to be spokespersons for the government, but this is a matter of public health."

Fifty years ago, religious convictions caused Lew Alcindor to change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That same man is now driven by celebrity convictions. He's mad athletes are not living up to their responsibilities as celebrities.

What are the responsibilities of celebrities? Are those responsibilities articulated in the Bible, Quran, the Torah?

Thou shalt not disagree with the satanic cabal running Hollywood. Thou shalt not be seen as black if you don't vote for Joe Biden. When Democrats are in power, thou shalt inject yourself with experimental drugs without complaint.

In one breath Kareem is claiming current NBA players don't grasp the seriousness of the situation, and in the next breath he's arguing that Irving has a duty to live up to the responsibilities of celebrity. Is Kareem serious? Is he a serious person?

Kareem is allegedly a Muslim. Arguing for the responsibilities of celebrity is the promotion of idolatry. Islam strictly prohibits idolatry. It's called shirk. As a Muslim or a serious person, Kareem should realize Irving's only duty is to serve God, not celebrity, not the government, not the desires of a 74-year-old sellout.

Muhamad Ali stood against the draft on religious principle, not celebrity principle. When Ali refused induction, he was smeared as a nutjob who joined a religious organization — the Nation of Islam — that promoted conspiracy theories against black people.

Sound familiar?

Kyrie Irving is being treated like Muhammad Ali. Irving, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Isaacs, and other unvaccinated NBA players face a similar fate as Ali. Their careers could be halted and cut short. They could lose millions of dollars. Irving plays for Brooklyn. Wiggins plays for Golden State. New York and San Francisco have laws that won't allow unvaccinated athletes to play indoors. Irving and Wiggins could be forced to sit at least half of their games.

Here's what Ali told the media years later about his decision to disobey draft orders.

"My conscience won't let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me n****r, they never lynched me, they didn't put no dogs on me, they didn't rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. ... Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail."

Let me paraphrase what Irving would say if he channeled his inner Muhammad Ali.

"My conscience won't let me take the jab, or be used as a celebrity influencer to convince black people or poor people to take the jab for big powerful America. Take the jab for what? COVID never called me a victim, a virus never segregated me to second-class citizenship, never hurt a 29-year-old in as good shape as me."

No one believes Kyrie Irving is jeopardizing his health by refusing the vaccine. He's in peak health. COVID poses no threat to his life. No one really believes the unvaccinated pose a threat to the vaccinated. Vaccinated people are contracting COVID and spreading COVID.

The vaccinated want to impose the vaccine on everybody because they've taken the vax. That's it. "I did it so you have to do it." It's the same reasoning that drove the backlash against Ali. No one believed in the Vietnam War. No one saw the war as central to protecting America and American freedom.

Vietnam was a propaganda campaign for the military-industrial complex. Ali courageously avoided his celebrity responsibility to participate in that propaganda campaign. Kyrie is standing against the pharmaceutical-industrial complex that sponsors a high percentage of the advertisements aired during NFL, NBA, and MLB games.

Rolling Stone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are sellouts.

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