After initially being skeptical, NBA superstar LeBron James has announced that he’s fully vaccinated, Sports Illustrated reports.
Speaking to reporters at the Los Angeles Lakers’ annual media day in preparation for the upcoming season, James said he and his family got the vaccine after doing their research.
“I think everyone has their own choice—to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature,” he said. “I know that I was very (skeptical) about it all but after doing my research. I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and my friends.”
When asked if he felt the need to promote the vaccine to other NBA players who are still hesitant, James said he would only speak about him and his family’s choices, not other players.
“We’re talking about individuals’ bodies. We’re not talking about something that’s, you know, political or racism or police brutality,” James said. “So I don’t feel like, for me personally, I should get involved in what other people should do with their bodies and their livelihoods.”
Also on Tuesday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel confirmed that the team is 100% vaccinated.
“Not every team in this league this year has that luxury but we do and there was a lot of conversations and education to get that done along the way,” Vogel told reporters.
According to ESPN, 90% of NBA players have been vaccinated but the league has not made it mandatory.
“A vaccine mandate for NBA players would need an agreement with the Players Association,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said. The NBA has made these proposals but the players’ union has rejected any vaccination requirement.”
New York and San Francisco have issued mandates that require entertainment spaces and venues to only allow vaccinated people to enter. As a result, unvaccinated players would not be able to play without getting at least one dose of the vaccine in those cities. Not only would unvaccinated players be unavailable for games but they are not permitted to attend practice. Without being vaccinated, players whose teams are in New York and San Francisco would only be allowed to play in away games
While James has gone public with his vaccination status, other NBA stars including Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, and Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State, addressed the media with skepticism about the vaccine or wanted to keep their status private.
Attending the Nets media day via Zoom because of COVID protocols, Irving said his vaccination status was a private matter.
“I like to keep that stuff private,” Irving said. “I’m a human being first…I would love to just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward with a plan.”
Bradley Beal explained on Monday during his team’s media day that he isn’t vaccinated for “personal reasons.”
“I’ll definitely think about it, for sure.,”Beal said. “With the guidelines that the league makes and everything that the protocols are doing, they kind of make it difficult on us to where they kind of force us in a way to want to get it. But at the end of the day, [I’ll] talk it over with my family and we make a group decision that we feel is best for us, just like the rest of the world.”
Recently, the NBA denied Warriors Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption from the vaccine.
“Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements,” the league said in a statement.
The 2021-22 NBA season begins on October 19.