LeBron James had been pretty tight-lipped about his vaccination status prior to this week, but during the Los Angeles Lakers’ media day on Tuesday, the four-time MVP confirmed that he has indeed been vaccinated against Covid-19.
As for the league’s anti-vaxxers? It’s up to them, he says.
“I know I was very skeptical about it all, but after doing my research and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited not only for me but for my family or for my friends,” James said, emphasizing that he was not “talking about other people and what they should do.”
James demurred when was asked if he didn’t feel the issue was important enough for someone of his stature to advocate for others to get vaccinated. “We’re talking about individuals’ bodies,” he said. “We’re not talking about something that’s political, or racism, or police brutality, or things of that nature. We’re talking about people’s bodies and well being.”
“As far as speaking for everybody and their individualities and things they want to do,” James added, “that’s not my job.”
James’ confirmation that he’s been vaccinated comes as the NBA struggles to reckon with a rash of anti-vaxx sentiment spreading throughout the league, as Rolling Stone reported last weekend. The star at the center of this skepticism is James’ former teammate, Kyrie Irving, currently of the Brooklyn Nets. As Rolling Stone reported, Irving, no stranger to conspiracy theories, recently started following and liking social media posts from an account that claims vaccines are a Satanic scheme to connect Black people to a master computer. The theory has reportedly spread “across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats.” Around 50-60 players remain unvaccinated, league sources told Rolling Stone.
Irving was absent from the Nets’ media day on Monday because he was reportedly unable to comply with New York City’s proof-of-vaccination requirements. Irving answered questions from the media over video, however, and declined to say whether he was vaccinated, or even if he expected to play in Nets home games in the upcoming season, which would require him to provide proof-of-vaccination. “I would like to keep all that private,” Irving said. “Please just respect my privacy.”