Sports

LeBron James not prepared to be vaccination advocate for NBA, Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins anti-vaxxers


LeBron James may have received the COVID-19 vaccination himself, but he is not prepared to become an advocate as for why others should get it.

The four-time NBA MVP and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates turned out for media day to officially open their 2021-22 season with the team’s roster fully vaccinated.

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Media day headlines around the league have been dominated by a group of approximately 10 per cent of the NBA’s playing cohort that is not yet vaccinated, with the pin-up boy of that group Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.

While James has not been afraid to speak out about a range of political topics throughout his career, he said he was not prepared to tell others what to do with their bodies.

“For me, I can speak about myself,” he told local reporters.

“I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family.

“I know that I was very sceptical 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 and my friends and that’s why I decided to do it.

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“Anything that I talk about, I don’t talk about other people and what they should do. I speak for me and for my family and that’s what it’s about.

“We’re talking about individuals’ bodies. We’re not talking about something that’s like racism or police brutality or things of that nature. We’re talking about people’s bodies and wellbeing.

“I don’t feel like for me personally that I should get involved in what other people should do for their bodies and their livelihoods. It would be like me talking about if somebody should take this job or not. Listen, you have to do what’s best for you and your family.

“I did it for me and my family, I know some of my friends and what they did for their families. But as far as speaking for everybody and their individualities and things that they want to do, that’s not my job.”

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While the Lakers are fully vaccinated, James said that the topic of vaccination was “never a team discussion”.

“I think at the end of the day you always try to figure out a way that you can always be available and protect one another and put yourself in the best possible chance where you are available to your teammates,” he said.

“The ultimate goal is to obviously win a championship and obviously health is the number one thing and just holding each other accountable on the floor.

“We’re excited to know that we’ve given ourselves another opportunity to be available to each other and that’s what it came down to.”

One of the Lakers’ many off-season acquisitions is veteran swingman Kent Bazemore, who like James, was a vaccine sceptic before deciding to be inoculated following a conversation with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

“One thing you don’t want to have is regret,” Bazemore said.

“And if I go to another team or miss this season because I didn’t do it and I’ve got to watch these guys party with the Larry O’Brien Trophy because I didn’t do it, I’d be pretty hurt.”

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