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Lakers center Dwight Howard gets schooled on HIPAA by reporter

dwight howard hipaa

At Los Angeles Lakers Media Day, Dwight Howard became the latest high-profile athlete to reveal a profound misunderstanding of HIPAA laws.

The Lakers center — who has publicly questioned COVID-19 protocols and vaccines in the past — was asked about his vaccination stance by The Athletic’s Bill Oram (and then Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times) on Tuesday.

Instead of indicating any sort of evolution on the issue, Howard — who was extremely cheerful and exuberant throughout his press conference and Media Day — flashed a big smile and said he would not speak on the vaccine, before Oram could finish his question.

“I have a lot of opinions, but not on camera,” Howard said. “I want to keep that private. HIPAA Law.”

Oram quickly followed up by saying, “That’s not what HIPAA is, but OK.”

Howard grinned and moved on to the next question, rather than address Oram’s fact-check.

“I don’t think that should be anybody’s business — what shots you get,” Howard later added.

HIPAA laws apply to medical professionals sharing patients’ personal information without consent — not media members (citizens) asking athletes (citizens) about vaccines.

On Monday, former Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was dunked on for citing HIPAA as a reason for not discussing his vaccine status. NFL quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Dak Prescott, and Carson Wentz have hid behind HIPAA rather than provide actual reasoning for not getting vaccinated.

Last week, Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka revealed that the Lakers were on pace to be fully vaccinated by opening night against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 19.

At Media Day, Frank Vogel called the development “huge”, while Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook re-iterated that their team was 100% vaxxed.

Kent Bazemore admitted to being skeptical about the vaccine until an “honest” phone call with Pelinka changed his mind. He said he’s set to receive his second dose in “a couple of weeks.”

Last week, Anthony told Bob Costas on HBO that he had been initially skeptical but came around after becoming more educated on the data.

LeBron James echoed Melo’s sentiments at Media Day, and publicly acknowledged, for the first time, that he received the COVID-19 vaccine. Anthony Davis said he got vaccinated for the safety of his family.