With Some Hesitant, NBA Won’t Require Players To Be Vaccinated

While some NBA teams are expected to force fans to show proof of vaccination, the league itself will not require it of the players, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Baxter Holmes of ESPN.NBA Logo

In short, the league could run into issues if it insisted that players receive the vaccine, given that some star players appear to be on the fence about.

For instance, Lakers forward LeBron James has remained private about the vaccine, telling reporters he is keeping that decision within his family.

“Anything I do off the floor is predicated to my family for the majority or 99.9 percent of that,” James said in May. “It’s about the health and safety of my family. That’s what it came down to. Being available to my teammates on the floor is about taking care of my body and me doing everything I can to make sure I’m available both mentally, physically and spiritually as well. But anything of that nature is all family talk.”

The NBA media has not pushed James on the issue in the same manner it might other players or coaches, and the league has purposely tried to keep James’ comments on vaccination out of the limelight.

“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,'” Wojnarowski and Holmes wrote.

On the other hand, NBA referees and most staff members will be required to be vaccinated.

As for the players, a memo obtained by ESPN outlined strict protocols for players who do not receive the vaccine.

“Such protocols include having lockers far from vaccinated teammates and having to eat, fly and ride buses in different sections,” Wojnarowski and Holmes reported. “These protocols are not final and are still subject to talks with the NBPA.”

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