Late Friday evening a report surfaced that LeBron James had violated the NBA’s safety and wellness protocol earlier in the week when he attended a large party.
The immediate question in the aftermath became: will this result in him being suspended for the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns?
On Saturday morning, we got our answer.
As it turns out – the answer is no.
According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, James’ act will not lead to him having to sit out any of his squad’s upcoming outings.
“LeBron James won’t be suspended for protocols violation,” he tweeted. “Nature of event didn’t rise to a threat level of virus spread… Suns-Lakers Game 1 on Sunday.”
Naturally, many on social media didn’t take kindly to this.
Adam Silver to the Lakers pic.twitter.com/gilJIJNp4b
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) May 22, 2021
Lebron: breaks protocol
The League: pic.twitter.com/MiGqPoHFI4
— playoff paint (@nba_paint) May 22, 2021
Lavine missed 3 weeks for this exact same thing during the most crucial part of our season just days after we made a trade to go for it. It’s crazy how they let him play by different rules
— Ben Metcalf (@bmetcalf14_) May 22, 2021
Of course the nba won’t suspend lebron. Its the wwe!! Gotta make sure he is playing and the Lakers have a fair chance to beat the Suns. The nba made sure things weren’t fair for the Suns in ’07, but they’ll make damn sure it is for the Lakers in ’21.
— Andrew (@Alphadrew88) May 22, 2021
What really complicates this whole matter is James’ questionable COVID-19 vaccination status. A few months ago Lakers guard Dennis Schroder suggested that he and James are the only two unvaccinated members of the team.
Anthony Davis reacted strongly to that news, but it’s unclear whether anything was actually done about it.
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 21, 2021
Late this week, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said that his team had not yet hit the 85 percent vaccination threshold the NBA demands for health and safety rules to be reduced. That means two members of the team remain unvaccinated – likely Schroder and James.
Between the iffy status of James’ ankle, the controversial eye injury he sustained this week, and the overall tough run he has been over the past couple of months – the absolute last thing he needed right now is to be suspended for the Lakers’ opening round series against Phoenix.
Fortunately, it appears that will not be the case.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.