Former Sacramento Kings player Kenny Thomas gives a “thumbs up” as he gets the COVID vaccine. (Observer Photos by Russell Stiger.)

Alongside Sacramento public health officials, former NBA basketball player Kenny Thomas received the COVID-19 vaccine at Cal Expo and urged all Californians to do the same.

“It has been an incredibly tough year on so many in our community and now we finally have an answer to get our economy, our schools, and our lives back on track,” said Thomas, who played 11 seasons in the NBA, including his final six years for the Sacramento Kings. “Without hesitation I am getting vaccinated and urge everyone to do the same.”

Thomas continues to live in Sacramento and urged all Sacramento residents — including African Americans — to immediately schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.

“Our African American community should feel comfortable being able to come out (and get vaccinated). I’m a prime example of coming out getting vaccinated,” Thomas said. 

“I don’t think anybody should be scared about coming out and getting vaccinated because we’ve got to get back to normal. We as a community right now need to back each other up and tell each other to come get vaccinated. This is a great thing and getting vaccinated is going to get us back to where we need to be,” he added.

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye agreed with Thomas.

“COVID-19 has hit our Sacramento community hard — in some areas more than others,” Dr. Kasirye said. 

“The vaccine offers members of our community protection against COVID-19 and our Sacramento County Public Health team is committed to increasing equity and access to everyone who wants to get vaccinated,” she added.

“With eligibility opening up to people aged 16 and older … we are hopeful that everyone who is eligible will choose to get vaccinated to protect themselves and our community from COVID-19,” added Dr. Kasirye. 

For more information about the County’s vaccination effort, visit