With the NBA season starting soon, the vaccination status of many players has become a national talking point. One player who did end up taking the vaccine was Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. In the past, he kept the matter private but decided to give a definitive answer during his team’s recent media day.
However, it may not have been the answer many wanted.
“We’re talking about individual bodies,” LeBron said last week. “We’re not talking about something political or racism or police brutality. We’re talking about people’s bodies and well-being. I don’t think I personally should get involved in what other people should do for their bodies and livelihoods.”
As the biggest name in the NBA and possibly the biggest name in American sports, this could have been an opportunity for LeBron to try and sway many opinions on the vaccine. Instead, he decided to not push the vaccine too hard. One fellow NBA player who had a major issue with those comments was Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter. He believes that LeBron should’ve been urging people to take the vaccine.
“When I heard it, I was very disappointed, and it’s ridiculous,” Kanter said of LeBron’s vaccination comments Saturday on CNN. “Obviously, LeBron James, he’s one of the faces of the league, and he should be the first one to go out there and say, ‘Listen, everyone. I got the vaccine, and I’m encouraging everyone, my community, everyone, basketball fans, non-basketball fans and sports fans are just going out there and get this vaccine, so we can save other lives.’ When I heard that, I just couldn’t believe it. But I hope he can educate himself about this vaccination and inspire and encourage other people around him.”
LeBron has never been one to hold his tongue on issues that he’s passionate about. He explained why he decided to stay mostly quiet on the matter but that clearly wasn’t good enough reasoning for Kanter.
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Lakers to Reach 100% Vaccination Status?
Regardless of what LeBron has to say about the vaccine, the fact that he has gotten the shots alleviates the Lakers of a potential headache. In fact, the team could be fully vaccinated by opening night, according to general manager Rob Pelinka.
“We’ve worked really hard with our UCLA Health partners and our team doctors, and players, and agents and family members, and on opening night when we play the Golden State Warriors, all of the players that are currently signed on our roster that night will be deemed fully vaccinated,” Pelinka said recently.
The biggest wild card on the team was Dwight Howard, who said last year that he personally didn’t believe in vaccines, via USA Today. During media day, he refused to answer if whether or not he was vaccinated. Despite that, Pelinka is claiming that the Lakers will reach full vaccination status which must mean that Howard has decided to take it.
Frank Vogel Praises Team for Vaccination Status
Having a fully vaccinated team could turn into a big advantage for the Lakers. They won’t have to worry as much about COVID-19 protocols this season. Head coach Frank Vogel is excited about the news.
“Well, it’s huge,” Vogel said at media day. “Obviously you want to be able to not be compromised in any way with extended absence for quarantines or exposure quarantines. They were costly last year to our group. Not everybody, not every team in the 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 and I’m super proud of our guys for making that commitment and hopefully we don’t have some of those disruptions like we did last year.”