Michael Jordan is firmly siding with the NBA in a preseason marked by controversy around players' hesitance or outright refusal to get vaccinated.
The Charlotte Hornets owner and Chicago Bulls legend addressed the league's COVID-19 protocols during an interview with Craig Melvin on NBC's "TODAY" on Monday. When discussing the NBA's contenders this year, Jordan stressed the importance of staying healthy.
That led to the following question and answer:
Melvin: You mentioned staying healthy and the COVID vaccine. Are you at all concerned about the protocols?
Jordan: Not at all. Not at all. I am total in unison with the league. And I think everybody, you know, has been speaking about the vaccinations. And, you know, I'm a firm believer in science and, you know, I'm going to stick with that and hopefully everybody abides by whatever the league sets the rules. I think once everybody buys in, we're going the be fine.
Jordan's endorsement of the NBA comes as multiple players, most notably the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving, have pushed back on a set of rules in which some unvaccinated players can be forbidden to play home games if local protocols dictate it. Nets head coach Steve Nash has already said the team doesn't expect to have Irving at the Barclays Center any time soon.
Even some players who have been vaccinated, such as LeBron James, have declined to publicly advocate the vaccine for others.
Jordan hasn't been too outspoken about getting the vaccine, certainly not as much as fellow NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but he seems to have shown advocacy in his own ways. In February, he donated $10 million to open two Michael Jordan Family Clinics in his home county in North Carolina. A spokesperson for Novant Health said more than 23,000 doses of the vaccine were administered at the Jordan clinics.
It's donations like that, as well his pledge to donate $100 million for racial equality that Jordan discussed on "Today":
Melvin: What's driving Michael Jordan to give away so much of his money?
Jordan: Actions speed louder than words. I can say a lot of different things but my actions have been that I want to make a difference.