As the NBA season nears its beginning, one of the biggest talking points is the vaccination status of players across the league. Though 90% of players are reportedly vaccinated, there remains some concern amongst staff about the risk those unvaccinated players could be bringing. Thankfully for the Los Angeles Lakers, this doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Though it hasn’t been confirmed, Rob Pelinka announced that the expectation is the Lakers will be fully vaccinated by Opening Night, so there should be no issues for them as they travel from city to city on their quest to bring home the NBA Championship. And LeBron James believes this shows how dedicated this team is to accomplishing that goal.
James spoke on the Lakers players’ vaccination status at Lakers Media Day, saying that it wasn’t something that was discussed as a team but shows how important it is to everyone on the team to be available this season.
“It was never a team discussion but I think at the end of the day, you’re always trying to figure out ways that you can always be available and protect one another,” James said. “And put yourself in the best possible chance where you are available to your teammates, available to what we need to do on the floor. The ultimate goal is obviously to win a championship and it starts with, obviously health is the No. 1 thing and also just holding each other accountable on the floor. So we’re excited to know that we’ve given ourselves another opportunity to be available to each other and that’s what it came down to.”
James also revealed that despite being skeptical at first, he decided to get the vaccine.
“I think when it comes down to it for me, I can speak about myself. I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel like is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature. I know that I was very skeptical about it all but after doing my research and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and friends and that’s why I decided to do it. But as far as, you guys should know me, anything that I talk about, I don’t talk about people and what they should do. I speak for me and for my family and that’s what it’s about.”
Despite being vaccinated though, James believes it’s a personal choice for each individual and doesn’t want to influence people one way or the other.
“We’re talking about individuals’ bodies. We’re not talking about something that’s political or racism or police brutality and things of that nature. We’re talking about like peoples’ bodies and well-being. So I don’t feel like for me personally that I should get involved in what other people should do for their bodies and their livlihoods. It would be like me talking about somebody that they should take this job or not. You have to do what’s best for you and your family…So I know what I did for me and my family, I know some of my friends what they did for their families, but as far as speaking for everybody and their individualities and things that they want to do, I don’t feel like that’s my job.”
This has been a huge discussion point recently as stars such as Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal still have yet to receive the vaccine and seemingly have no intentions to. Meanwhile, there are many who believe being vaccinated should be mandated by the league and have spoken openly about it.
Regardless of personal feelings, the Lakers are a team that does not have to worry about any of this, which is ideal considering their ultimate goal. The team has a long road ahead of them in trying to win that championship and this is one potential roadblock that is in the rearview mirror.
James has ‘slimmed up’ ahead of Lakers season
The goal for the Lakers this season is simple, to win another NBA Championship, and James is the leader and driving force to that. After a disappointing end to last season, the Lakers have been hard at work and LeBron is setting the tone, with GM Rob Pelinka noting James has slimmed down some coming into the year.
“I think the thing that stands out is just his fitness level. He’s slimmed up. We all know LeBron studies the greats and he adds things into his game and I think going into this stage of his career, he’s made a decision to come back a little bit leaner and I think that’s going to translate in his explosiveness and his quickness.”
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