Unlike the Golden State Warriors, The Los Angeles Lakers will not have to worry about the availability of any of its players, including LeBron James, according to Rob Pelinka.
Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka revealed that when the Lakers’ season officially begins, he expects all signed players, including James, to be 100% vaccinated against COVID-19.
“On opening night when we play the Golden State Warriors, all of the players that are currently signed on our roster, on that night, will be deemed fully vaccinated,” Rob Pelinka said on a video conference call Thursday (Sept.23). “We’re really grateful for that.”
Pelinka also revealed that the Lakers would be partnering with UCLA Health, one of the team’s sponsors to help secure vaccinations for its players.
“I think in collaboration with UCLA and the doctors and people internally, we will be grateful that we won’t have interruptions caused by the vaccinated status of a player or a staff member,” he revealed.
The NBA has been one of the few professional sports leagues to handle COVID-19 quite well even though it has stopped short of mandating vaccinations for its players ESPN’s NBA Insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Baxter Holmes reported last week. But, some teams will face stricter health and safety protocols because they have to follow the health and safety requirements put in place by the state or county they play in.
We recently reported that the Golden State Warriors are worried about swingman Andrew Wiggins’ availability because he is still refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine. San Francisco mandated individuals have to be vaccinated to attend large indoor gatherings like NBA basketball games.
As for the Lakers, vaccinations don’t seem to be an issue, but Pelinka’s comments about his team reaching the 100% vaccine threshold do come with some speculation. While not outright saying he is against the COVID-19 vaccine, many have wondered what his status was. When asked, he’s quick to express his decision on whether or not to get the shot is a “family matter.” The biggest obstacle might come from Dwight Howard, who re-signed with the team after leaving the Lakers last season.
Howard questioned how well vaccines work during an Instagram Live session. He asked, “Do I believe in vaccinations?” before answering himself, “No, I don’t. That’s my personal opinion, but no, I don’t.”
Someone needs to tell Howard that vaccines are the sole reason we no longer have to worry about diseases like polio or chickenpox.
Players who think like Howard are far and few but reveal their mind-numbing stances regarding this pandemic and getting vaccinated. Denver Nuggets star Michael Porter Jr. got called out for pushing COVID-19 conspiracy theories while in the NBA bubble. We have no idea how he feels about the vaccine, but we wouldn’t be shocked if he was one of those people on the skeptical side.
One player who has been big on getting vaccinated is Minnesota Timberwolves’ all-star big man Karl-Anthony Townes. Townes has lost several family members to the virus, including his own mother, and has recently expressed frustration with anti-vaxxers in a tweet, “Every day I see a new excuse why people ain’t getting the vaccine. Ya starting to get creative with these ‘reasons’ though and it’s actually really funny.”
We understand why he is so frustrated.
You can watch Rob Pelinka’s video conference below.
Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty