Obama, Barkley, Shaq Address Vaccine Hesitancy Among Blacks
”So I’m playing Kenny the Jet,” quipped former president Barack Obama, who joined Basketball Hall of Famers-turned “Inside the NBA” analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal on and NBC special Sunday night to encourage Black Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines.
Obama was referencing Kenny Smith, an analyst alongside Barkley and O’Neal on TNT’s NBA program. There was also joking about Barkley’s infamous golf game. Obama asked if it improved any during the quarantine. Barkley replied, “I’m playing great right now. I’m almost back to normal.” Shaq said, “Chuck, you know it’s a federal offense to lie to the president.”
They did eventually get around to the vaccine. Obama told Black viewers that the richest and most powerful people in the US have gotten vaccinated, and “If the wealthy and powerful in our society are all lining up to get shots, that means everybody should know it’s a good thing to get.”
Barkley said to “forget what happened back in the day,” a reference to the Tuskegee experiment, where scientists experimented on 400 Black men with syphilis between the 1930s and 1970s instead of curing them, without telling them.
Barkley said he’s about to get his second shot, and urged “every Black person” to “please go out and get vaccinated.”