Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James declined to address the NBA determining he violated the league’s health and safety protocols to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. James also declined to offer any explanation for breaking them.
“I’ll be ready for Game 2,” James said in response to the question in play after the Lakers’ 99-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of their first-round series on Sunday.
James recently attended a promotional event for Lobos 1707 tequila despite the NBA forbidding for any player to go to any indoor and outdoor gatherings with more than 25 people. Though James has declined to say whether he has received the COVID-19 vaccine, the NBA did not place James in a 10-to-14 day quarantine because the event was held outside and guests were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts as he walks off the court in the closing seconds of a loss to the Phoenix Suns. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)
In the league’s original health and safety protocols, it said “a player must notify his team at least three days in advance of any in-person appearance at any event with more than 25 attendees that is intended to fulfill such a commitment (e.g., to film an advertisement or promote a product activation).”
In modified health and safety protocols sent to teams on March 17, the NBA said “a fully vaccinated player is permitted to appear at an event to fulfill his individual commitment to a sponsor.”
“I had no reaction to it,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He knows what he’s doing. We trust his decision making.”
Vogel added that the Lakers organization will be 85% vaccinated by Monday, a threshold the league determine will allow for loosened protocols. It is not clear if that meant James has since received the vaccine. Lakers guard Dennis Schroder is the only player to confirm publicly that he has declined receiving one.
“I haven’t really dove into what that’s going to look like,” Vogel said on the loosened restrictions. “I know our guys will have team dinners, which they haven’t been able to do this year with the exception of restaurants at the hotel or things like that. I envision those guys will be more together in that type of setting. There’s not a great deal of difference. There’s still restrictions. But there’s hope our guys can have some team dinners.”
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