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LeBron James violated NBA’s coronavirus protocols

Lakers star LeBron James

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers stays warm during the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament on May 19, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

UPDATE: LeBron will not miss any games due to a league-imposed quarantine after this event.


LeBron James lifted the Lakers into the playoffs.

Will he be available when they open their first-round series against the Suns on Sunday?

It’s a question after he violated the NBA’s coronavirus protocols.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

James was one of several high-profile guests present at a promotional event for Lobos 1707, a tequila brand he backs, earlier this week before the Lakers’ play-in game against the Golden State Warriors.

The tequila was poured at a brief outdoor photo shoot, and invitees, including recording artist Drake and actor Michael B. Jordan, had to produce proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result in order 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 Drake’s Instagram post, the event was Monday:

When Nets star Kyrie Irving violated the coronavirus protocols earlier in the season, the NBA announced he’d face a five-day quarantine. James Harden violated the protocols Dec. 21 then made his season debut five days later. Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. violated the protocols April 19, played that night (before the league determined he broke the rules), missed games over the next five days then returned for Houston’s next game eight days after the incident.

Likewise, LeBron played after his violation, leading the Lakers over the Warriors in a play-in game Wednesday.

By Game 1 of the Los Angeles-Phoenix series tomorrow, five days will have passed since the photo shoot. Game 1 and Game 2 (Tuesday) are the only games within five days of the NBA addressing the violation.

If LeBron is fully vaccinated, the risk of him contracting and spreading coronavirus is extremely low. He has dodged questions about whether he’s vaccinated.

Even if LeBron isn’t fully vaccinated, the event sounds very safe. Especially if it actually was fully outdoors. Just because the photos were taken outside doesn’t mean he didn’t spend considerable time inside in close contact with other people. All attendees being required to prove vaccination or a recent negative test also mitigates risk, though.

But whether or not these protocols are too strict, the players’ union agreed to them. And LeBron violated them.

Now the big question is what consequences he’ll face.