LeBron James on Tuesday said he received the COVID-19 vaccine despite his initial skepticism. The Los Angeles Lakers star spoke with reporters on the Lakers’ annual media day for the upcoming season, saying he and his family got the vaccine after he did his own research.
“I think everyone has they 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, James said he only felt comfortable speaking about his and his family’s choices.
“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.”
Lakers coach Frank Vogel confirmed his team is 100% vaccinated on Tuesday, admitting 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 told reporters.
Roughly 90% of NBA players have been vaccinated against COVID-19 but the league has not made it mandatory. However, New York and San Francisco have mandates requiring entertainment spaces and venues to only allow vaccinated people to enter – meaning unvaccinated players would be unable to play without getting at least one dose of the vaccine.
“A vaccine mandate for NBA players would need an agreement with the Players Association,” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told CBS News on Tuesday. The NBA has made these proposals but the players’ union has rejected any vaccination requirement.”
The NBA recently denied Warriors forward Andrew 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.
Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal said Tuesday that he was still considering whether or not to get the vaccine, but could not be vaccinated until 60 days after his recent COVID-19 diagnosis — which forced him to miss the Tokyo Olympics. “I’m still considering getting the vaccine, so one thing I want to make clear is that I’m not sitting up here advocating that you shouldn’t get the vaccine,” Beal said. “I’m not sitting here saying I won’t get it.”
Meanwhile, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, who could not attend Monday’s media day because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols, spoke with reporters via video conference. He declined to discuss his vaccination status.
“Please just respect my privacy,” Irving said. “All the questions kind of leading into what’s happening, just please, everything will be released at a due date and once we get this cleared up. But as of right now, just please respect my privacy regarding anything on home games, what’s happening, vaccination.”
His comments followed a Rolling Stone report that said Irving used social media to engage with accounts that promote anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. NBA legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said players who refuse to get the vaccine should be .
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” Abdul-Jabbar told CNN on Monday. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research.”