LeBron James is battling more than public perception after photos went viral of the Los Angeles Lakers superstar attending a launch party for Lobos tequila just days before the team’s play-in matchup with the Golden State Warriors. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported James’ attendance was a violation of the NBA’s COVID protocols.
“It’s a violation of the agreed upon protocols, and, as we have in other comparable instances around the league, it has been addressed with the team,” a league spokesperson told ESPN.
Whatever measures the NBA took against James, it does not appear that the Lakers superstar will miss any playoff games given he was still permitted to play against the Warriors. James is one of the tequila’s endorsers and the event caused a bit of a stir after the photographer Lenny Santiago posted photos from the party. James was joined by a few notable celebrities including Drake and Michael B. Jordan. Santiago noted all attendees had to provide proof of receiving their COVID vaccination.
LeBron Has Not Revealed Whether He Has Been Vaccinated
It is unclear whether James has been vaccinated which many fans wondered given party attendees were pictured without masks. Heading into the Lakers-Suns series, James was once again asked about whether he had been vaccinated, and the Lakers star appeared to hint at his decision to get the vaccine.
“Anything I do off the floor is predicated to my family, for the majority — for 99.9% of that,” James responded, per ESPN. “So it’s about the health and safety of my family, and that’s what it came down to. Me being available to my teammates on the floor is me taking care of my body. Me doing everything I can do to make sure I’m available both mentally, physically and spiritually, as well. But anything of that nature, that’s all family talk.”
James received a follow-up question asking him to confirm if he had been vaccinated. The Lakers star did not specify adding, “it’s not a big deal.”
James Appeared to Be Undecided About the Vaccine When Asked During NBA All-Star Weekend
Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder has provided a bit of a window into the Lakers players’ decision to receive the vaccine. After spending ten days sidelined in COVID protocols just before the playoffs, Schroder noted he was the only Lakers player who had not been vaccinated. This came after Schroder previously remarked that he and James were the only Lakers not to receive the vaccine.
“That’s a conversation that my family and I will have,” James said during his NBA All-Star press conference in March, per USA Today. “Pretty much keep that to a private thing. Obviously I saw Adam had his comments about the vaccination. But things like that, when you decide to do something, that’s a conversation between you and your family and not for everybody. I’ll keep it that way.”
McMenamin reported that there is likely at least two Lakers player who have not been vaccinated given head coach Frank Vogel’s recent comments. Vogel confirmed the Lakers were not at the 85% vaccination threshold heading into the postseason, which would allow some of the team’s safety restrictions to be loosened.
“We have not reached it yet, but we’re still hopeful,” Vogel explained, via ESPN. “And I think there’s obvious benefits from the standpoint of us being able to do more things with each other in the cities that we’re going to. Something that’s been absent leaguewide in terms of team building and team bonding for all of us. It’s been a challenge. So if we’re able to reach that threshold then, obviously, we can do more.”