The obvious comparison here is the violation by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, who attended an event to promote a brand of tequila he is investing in last week. The NBA did not punish him and he played his team’s play-in game against the Golden State Warriors and the first game of their series against the Phoenix Suns without incident. The NBA explained the difference between their violation and that of Porzingis in a statement after the fine was issued, via Athlete’s Shams Charania.
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“While we understand the tendency to compare this incident to protocol violations by other players, including LeBron James, these facts are very different. LeBron briefly attended an outdoor event related to an individual business activity where everyone had to either get vaccinated or test negative for COVID. The league reviews each potential protocol violation on a case-by-case basis, determines quarantines and imposes discipline based on the facts and circumstances of each case. “
Porzingis is scheduled to play Tuesday in Game 2 of the Dallas series against the Los Angeles Clippers. This is not his first violation of COVID-19 rules. Last July, in the Orlando bubble, he missed a scrum because he missed a COVID test. The stakes are decidedly higher for the playoffs, but luckily for the Mavericks, Porzingis will only be fined.