LeBron James has violated the NBA’s COVID-19 policy, a league spokesperson told ESPN on Friday. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Lakers superstar will not be suspended, however, as the violation did not present a significant threat to spread the coronavirus.
The violation in question occurred when James attended an in-person event for Lobos 1707, a brand of tequila which he backs. The event included an outdoor promotional photo shoot and guests, including musician Drake and actor Michael B. Jordan, were required to provide proof of vaccination to attend.
“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 spokesman told ESPN on Friday.
According to an Instagram post by Drake, the event occurred on Monday — two days before the Lakers beat the Warriors in the NBA’s play-in game.
The NBA dictates that violators of the league’s COVID-19 protocols will be subject to warnings, fines or suspensions, with more severe punishments for repeat offenders. Considering Wojnarowski’s report, it appears as if James only received a warning or fine. That hasn’t been the case for other players throughout the league, including Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Porter Jr., all of whom were subject to five-day quarantine periods after committing their own violations.
The NBA does allow for more lax protocols for players who have been fully vaccinated for two weeks, which includes allowances to attend in-person promotional or sponsorship events. That said, the league will not mandate players to get the vaccination.
James’ Lakers teammate Dennis Schroder earlier in May said they were the only two Lakers who have yet to get the vaccine. James, asked by a reporter on Sunday whether he had been vaccinated, declined to answer.
“That’s a conversation that my family and I will have,” he said in the Zoom interview. “Pretty much keep that to a private thing.”
Lakers coach Frank Vogel on Friday said the team had not yet produced an 85 percent vaccination rate, suggesting Schroder and James are not the only players to have not yet been vaccinated. Reaching that threshold would give the team less restrictions under the league’s COVID protocols.
The 7-seed Lakers will start the playoffs against the 2-seed Suns at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.