THERE IS STILL so much that matters. For Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, who says he lost several family members to the virus, the task ahead is vital.
His home country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been ravaged by COVID-19, with over 200,000 confirmed cases and 9,600 deaths reported to the World Health Organization, but it still has very limited access to the vaccine.
"They just have donations, but not enough to vaccinate the people," Nurkic says. "I tried to buy it for the whole country. I figured out the money, the plan and everything. But we still can't do it.
"Even if we find vaccines, I guess United States laws say that until the American people are vaccinated, you can't sell it. So, I don't know what else to do. I really tried."
What's even harder, Nurkic says, is knowing how much vaccine supply is going unused in the United States, which he would gladly purchase for his country.
"All these countries are suffering and you have the United States, obviously the No. 1 in the world, has the vaccines and people don't want to get vaccinated," he says.
"I just feel like humanity has kind of failed, because all the countries around should get at least some of those vaccines, right?"
Last July, just as the NBA's bubble was beginning in Florida, Nurkic learned that his grandmother in Bosnia and Herzegovina had contracted COVID-10 -- and treatment options were limited.
"After 17 days, she survived the COVID," Nurkic says. "Then on Day 19, she had a heart attack. It was unbelievable."
Nurkic got the news as he was on a bus to a game.
"At that point, I wished I could just take a plane to go to the funeral," he says. "Probably, if I could do it again, I would do that. It's difficult when you're really far away."
Great stuff from Nurk.
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