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LeBron James getting preferential treatment with COVID-19 protocols, whiny execs claim


Stop me if you’ve heard this: anonymous NBA executives are complaining about the Los Angeles Lakers. This time, it’s about the treatment LeBron James received after breaching the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

Specifically, execs voiced their displeasure about the discrepancy between how James’s violation was disciplined compared to Dallas Mavericks big-man Kristaps Porzingis.

LeBron was publicly reprimanded (sort of) but did not face punishment for breaking protocols days before the Lakers’ play-in game against the Golden State Warriors. Last Friday, a league spokesperson told ESPN that James violated protocols by attending an outdoor event for his tequila brand alongside Drake and Michael B. Jordan.

Porzingis was fined $50,000 for visiting a strip club last Sunday. Porzingis has been fully vaccinated, though players are prohibited from attending indoor bars or clubs regardless of vaccination status, per the NBA’s protocols.

We still don’t know many of the details surrounding either player’s night out, and the constantly changing local, state, and federal regulations regarding COVID-19 further complicate the matters.

Last month, Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. was fined $50,000 for attending a strip club.

Still, a few rival executives were, predictably, upset with the inconsistency.

“It’s a given that LeBron, because of who he is, is going to get some things to go his way that don’t go that way for others,” an Eastern Conference executive told Bleacher Report. “The thing that I struggle with understanding is the whole point of having all these health protocols is to keep players safe, right? Why are there layers to this? If you spell out the rules and the players violate them, why would you (then) risk exposing them to their teammates?”

NBA spokesman Mike Bass shared a statement explaining the differing nature of the two events, noting that LeBron’s function was outdoors and required either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.

“The NBA is trying to have it both ways,” another executive said. “They are taking this [coronavirus] seriously; they have from the jump. But they want the players to not feel too restricted by the rules. What you wind up doing, you create more confusion to a process that’s already kind of confusing because everything changes so quickly when it comes to what you can do and what you can’t.”

James has yet to confirm whether he’s been vaccinated and the topic continues to be a source of speculation.


On Monday, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes, who has close ties to Klutch Sports, confidently claimed that the Lakers forward was vaccinated after the NBA’s press release.

The Lakers began the week by getting across the 85% vaccination threshold as a team, which requires 15 of 17 players to be vaxxed.