LeBron James Just Revealed Why He Got Vaccinated After Being Hesitant
The Lakers team is 100 percent vaccinated, but not every NBA team can say that.
With the start of NBA season right around the corner on Oct. 19, there's been a lot of talk about whether the players should have to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. Some athletes have come out and discussed their vaccination status, but others, including some of the biggest stars in the league, have stayed mum… until now. During Lakers Media Day on Sept. 28, legendary player LeBron James revealed he got vaccinated after being hesitant at first.
While talking to reporters, James was asked about his vaccination status and he admitted that he was skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine at first, "but after doing my research, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and my friends. And that's why I decided to do it," he said. Although James was happy to discuss his choice and what went into it, he said it wasn't his place to urge others to get vaccinated.
"I don't talk about other people and what they should do. I speak for me and for my family," James said when a reporter asked if he felt pressure to advocate for others to get their shots. "I think everyone has they own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature. I know that I was very [skeptical] about it all."
James pointed out that the nature of the decision felt different than advocating for other causes he has stood behind in the past. "We talking about individuals' bodies. We're not talking about something that's, you know, political, or racism or police brutality and things of that nature. We're talking about people's bodies and well-beings," James said. "So I don't feel like, for me personally, that I should get involved in what other people should do with their bodies and their livelihoods. It would be [like] me talking about if somebody should take this job or not … if they should relocate. Listen, you have to do what's best for you and your family. I know what I did for me and my family, I know some of my friends and what they did for their families, but as far as speaking for everybody and their individualities and things that they want to do, I don't feel like that's my… that's not my job."
The Lakers committed to getting 100 percent of their team members vaccinated by opening night, a decision that came after the Lakers and many other teams in the league had costly interruptions last season due to COVID-19.
James said he supported the Lakers' decision, but noted that it "was never a team discussion." "I think at the end of the day, you always try to figure out ways that you can always be available and protect one another and put yourself in the best possible chance where you are available to your teammates, available to [do] what we need to do on the floor. The ultimate goal is to obviously win a championship. And it starts with being… obviously, health is the number one thing," he said. "We're excited to know that we've given ourselves another opportunity to be available to each other, and that's what it came down to."
During Lakers Media Day, coach Frank Vogel confirmed the team was fully vaccinated, adding that he was proud of his players. "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 said.
Though more than 90 percent of NBA players have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to The New York Times, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told an ESPN reporter on Sept. 28 that a vaccine mandate for the league as a whole would be challenging to achieve because it would need an agreement with the Players Association. Although the NBA has put forth these proposals, the players' union has rejected "any vaccination requirement" so far, Bass said.
However, some arenas require anyone entering to be vaccinated, which means unvaccinated players would be unable to partake in games in these venues. This includes Barclays Center, where the Brooklyn Nets play, and Madison Square Garden, where the New York Knicks play.
Nets star Kyrie Irving's vaccination status has been up in the air and when reporters asked him if he'd be playing any home games recently, he kept his response vague. "I would like to keep all that private," Irving said on Sept. 27, according to The Times. "Please just respect my privacy. All the questions leading into what's happening, just please. Everything will be released at a due date once we get this cleared up."