The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be 100 percent vaccinated by opening night. Today, the team spoke in mostly positive fashion about all things COVID-related. The team staff also did a good job of cleaning and maintenance as each person spoke at the podium for interviews.
LeBron James Is Vaccinated
To support General Manager Rob Pelinka’s proclamation, LeBron James confirmed his status to the media. He also went on to discuss the decision in detail, regarding his family, teammates, and fellow NBA peers while admitting his initial skepticism about the vaccine before doing research and deciding to get it:
At the end of the day you’re always trying to figure out ways that you can be available and protect one another and put yourself in the best possible chance where you are available to your team-mates, available to do what we need to do on the floor,” James said.
The ultimate goal is to win a championship and it starts with being healthy which is the number one thing. We’re excited to know that we’ve given ourselves another opportunity to be available to each other, and that’s what it came down to. When it comes to me I can speak for myself,” James said.
I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature.”
James went on with more details here in his podium interview.
James elected not to commit to that speak as a spokesperson for the league. As of now, there are no public service announcements slated for the league. The league does not have a mandate, but did present it to the NBA Player’s Association, per ESPN.
NBA players will not be mandated to get vaccinated against COVID-19, league sources tell ESPN.
The NBA and NBPA continue to negotiate aspects of COVID-related protocols and procedures for the upcoming 2021-22 campaign, but the NBPA has refused to budge on its demand that players not be required to take the vaccine, sources say, and any proposal that mandates vaccination remains a “non-starter.”
Kent Bazemore, Anthony Davis: Family and Team Reasons
Swingman Kent Bazemore shared interesting thoughts on his vaccine commitment, per Greg Beacham of The Associated Press. Bazemore said in March that he would not get the vaccine but admitted in his press conference that after speaking to Pelinka, he ultimately chose to get vaccinated with his second dose still pending. Bazemore also seemed to imply that his signing with the Lakers was contingent on that decision.
One thing you don’t want to have is regret, and if I go to another team or miss this season because I didn’t do it and I’ve got to watch these guys party with the Larry O’Brien Trophy because I didn’t do it, I’d be pretty hurt.
Anthony Davis was one of the first Lakers to receive his vaccine last season. He cited his family as his driving decision. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard was the only Laker to decline to comment on the vaccine, claiming he had many opinions on it but not “in front of the camera.” Howard famously maintained that he did not believe in vaccines during the NBA bubble but if Pelinka is to be believed (and if the same approach as Bazemore was used), it’s safe to assume the center either has received the shot or will be doing so in the next few weeks.
James and Bazemore’s decisions are rooted in the team summer energy that has been all about the guys. As for the league, updates will be pending on more discussions around COVID-19 vaccinations. For the Lakers though, it appears that they have their decisions situated across the roster.