Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James allegedly violated NBA COVID-19 health and safety protocols this week when he attended a promotional event for Lobos 1707 Tequila.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on Saturday that James, a brand investor, attended a photoshoot alongside rapper Drake, actor Michael B. Jordan and others ahead of the play-in match. of the Lakers against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, which they won 103-100 thanks to a three from the quadruple MVP in the last minute.
“This is a violation of agreed protocols, and, as we have done in other comparable cases around the league, this has been discussed with the team,” a league spokesperson told ESPN. .
All event guests were required to produce a COVID-19 vaccination card or proof of a negative test to participate, per McMenamin.
It is not known if James was punished by a league or a team for the protocol violation, but he was cleared to play against the Warriors, and there is no indication that his availability is in question for the first game of the series. of the Lakers’ first round against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
The four-time NBA champion has not commented on the matter.
James was limited to four appearances in the last two months of the regular season as he recovered from a sprained ankle. It was part of an injury streak for the Lakers, who played without Anthony Davis from February 14 to April 22 due to calf and Achilles pain.
LA was also without Dennis Schroder during the latter stages of the regular season, as he served from April 30 to May 15 while going through COVID-19 protocols.
All of these absences were a factor in the Lakers’ downfall in the Western Conference standings and ending up in the play-in tournament. Their victory over the Warriors earned them 7th place in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, James was asked on Friday if he had received a COVID-19 vaccine to limit his chances of running out of playoff time due to league protocols. He declined to answer, saying it was a private family decision and “not a big deal”:
“Everything I do on the floor depends on my family for the most part, 99.9% of that. It is about the health and safety of my family. That’s what I was trying to say. To be available for my teammates on the floor is to take care of me. of my body and me, doing all I can to be available mentally, physically and spiritually. But anything of this nature is all family talk. ”
Los Angeles head coach Frank Vogel confirmed that the team did not meet the 85% threshold needed to ease coronavirus restrictions, but did not give further details, saying that he was “hopeful” of hitting the target.
The prediction for the Lakers-Suns opener is set for Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.