Update: Staples Center announced on Thursday that the new LA mandate will not apply for events at the venue, including home games for the Lakers, Clippers, and Kings.
Instead, they will follow existing measures that require guests to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering the arena in order to attend events. Fans are still required to wear face masks unless “actively” eating or drinking.
The LA vaccination mandate presumably will apply to training facilities meaning unvaccinated players would not be able to practice with their teammates at home. However, as both the Clippers and Lakers have stated they are fully vaccinated, that will not be a hold up for either team.
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Los Angeles is joining San Francisco and New York as NBA markets with strict vaccine mandates that will affect home games.
The AP reported on Wednesday that city officials have voted to enact COVID-19 vaccine mandates that will require anyone entering locations such as restaurants, gyms, salons and the STAPLES Center to have received the shot.
The mandate goes into effect on November 4th.
From an NBA perspective, this means that not only are staff and fans required to have the COVID vaccine but players must also have been vaccinated. That will not be an issue for the Lakers nor their co-tenants, the Clippers, as both teams have said they will be fully vaccinated by opening night.
Any players not vaccinated would have to sit out of home games and likely home practices.
Elsewhere in the NBA, similar mandates have sparked controversy with two players.
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins publicly stated he does not believe im getting the vaccination but ultimately succumbed to public pressure and the risk of losing half of his salary and received his first dose.
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has not publicly made statements about vaccinations but reporting has suggested that he too is against getting the shot. As a result, the All-Star has yet to practice with his teammates since training camps opened up last week. Irving is also at risk of losing half of his salary if he cannot appear in home games and, for now, it’s unclear whether he will ultimately choose to get vaccinated.
The San Francisco and New York mandates apply only to players for teams based in those markets, meaning unvaccinated athletes such as Washington’s Bradley Beal or Orlando’s Jonathan Isaac are able to play away games at those arenas. It is expected that the Los Angeles mandate will have the same qualification.
Lakers players spoke at length about receiving the vaccination at media day. Both LeBron James and Kent Bazemore stated that they were skeptical of receiving the vaccine at first, but ultimately chose to for various reasons. Bazemore, in particular, seemed to imply that signing with the team was contingent on his agreement to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dwight Howard declined to comment “in front of cameras” though he had previously stated on social media that he does not believe im vaccination.