NBA legend Julius Erving receives COVID-19 vaccine

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NBA living legend Julius Erving turned 71 years old on Monday and had a little something extra to celebrate. 

As noted by the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), “Dr. J” has revealed in a public service announcement produced by the NBA that he’s been vaccinated against COVID-19:

“We were never afraid to take the big shot,” Erving says in the video. 

Earlier this month, fellow basketball icon Bill Russell received his coronavirus vaccine. “And this is one shot I won’t block,” Russell humorously said. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have also publicly shared their vaccination experiences to help persuade individuals who may have concerns about the vaccine’s safety to receive the shots. 

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker admitted last week he had fears about the vaccine because of his knowledge of the Tuskegee Experiment, an unethical study of untreated syphilis conducted on Black men without their informed consent in Tuskegee, Alabama, from 1932-72. Baker ultimately received the vaccine and said: 

“So, I’m urging people to try to sort of take care of themselves. And I know it’s a kind of touchy situation. A lot of people don’t trust the vaccine… you do what you’ve got to do. But my suggestion was for those that are on the fence, get the vaccine.” 

Former MLB home-run king Hank Aaron received the COVID-19 vaccine to help promote the shot’s safety to Black Americans before he died of natural causes last month.