As a few notable NBA players continue to make headlines for their anti-vaccination stances, the vast majority of the league has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
NBA executive director Michele Roberts revealed this week that over 90 percent of the league’s players are fully vaccinated, while ESPN reported Thursday that 95 percent of players have now received at least one shot.
Still, the topic of vaccinations has become hot-button. The NBA mandated that all team employees except for players must be vaccinated, and there is tension within the league about that difference.
Mandatory vaccinations for players has been a non-starter with the National Basketball Players Association, although the league has instituted strict protocols for unvaccinated players.
“Everyone who is vaccinated should be pissed at those who aren’t,” a veteran assistant coach told ESPN. “Not requiring NBA players to be vaccinated is (expletive).”
- Former U.S. president Barack Obama joins NBA Africa as strategic partner
- NBA says Warriors, Knicks, Nets players must get vaccinated
Protocols for unvaxxed players could include eating and traveling apart from vaccinated teammates as well as being located in a different part of the locker room.
Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins and Bradley Beal are among the players who have made public their opposition to getting the vaccine. Beal later clarified, saying he would still consider receiving it.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said it’s not his place to be an advocate to other players, but did reveal he is fully vaxxed after doing his research.
“We’re talking about individual bodies. We’re not talking about something political or racism or police brutality,” James said. “I don’t think I personally should get involved in what other people do for their bodies and livelihoods. I know what I did for me and my family. … But as far as speaking for everybody and their individualities and things they want to do, that’s not my job.”
The NBA preseason begins with a Nets-Lakers game Sunday.