Bill Russell has joined the chorus of NBA luminaries to take the COVID-19 vaccine in its latest PSA, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Gregg Popovich.
Russell, 87, is arguably sports’ greatest winner with 11 championships in 13 years for the Boston Celtics, and in his message, he used a pun on his famed defensive prowess.
“I just arrived to get my COVID shot, and this is one shot I won’t block,” said Russell, wearing a Celtics facemask and a Lakers hat with Kobe Bryant’s initials. “No Celtics were harmed during my shot. Let’s do this together.”
"This is one shot I won't block."
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 4, 2021
The NBA has been active in amplifying the message of taking the vaccine, with trusted figures taking the shot publicly in the effort to garner public trust. No active player has taken the vaccine yet, but several players are expected to participate with local governments in messages that could debut in time.
Abdul-Jabbar, 73, was the first to publicly take the vaccine in a PSA that debuted on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“Because of the COVID-19 virus, we’ve had to find new ways to be together, we’ve had to find new ways to communicate, we had to find new ways to play and we have to find new ways to keep each other safe,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “For myself and my family, I am going to take the COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more about the vaccines, go to CDC.gov. Let’s do this together.”