LeBron James’ recent appearance at a promotional event violated NBA coronavirus protocols, a league spokesman said.
Before LeBron and the Lakers took on the Warriors in a play-in game to clinch the 7-seed in the NBA playoffs, James attended a promotional event for the Lobos 1707 tequila company. James is a shareholder in the tequila brand and was one of several celebrities, including actor Michael B. Jordan and rapper Drake, to attend the promotion.
However, even though the event required proof of vaccination or a negative test, James’ appearance still violated league Covid rules.
“It’s a violation of the agreed upon protocols,” a league representative told ESPN, “and, as we have in other comparable instances around the league, it has been addressed with the team.”
Punishments for James’ violation range from fines, to suspensions, to written warnings. In other words, the NBA gave themselves plenty of latitude not to be forced into a situation where they have to suspend the league’s best player for a playoff game. This is precisely what they would be doing if they had to suspend James now.
Though, despite the lenient punishments for first-time offenders, one would think the league would want to keep James in the 10-14 day screening protocol for players who have been exposed. Of course, that would actually take James out of multiple playoff games instead of one or two.
The league’s attitude toward quarantine could be changed if they had proof that James has been vaccinated. However, the superstar forward has steadfastly maintained his privacy, calling the decision on whether to get vaccinated is “family talk.”
The NBA said that they have discussed James’ violation with the Lakers.