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LeBron James soon could be like everyone else with regrets after too much tequila.
The NBA’s biggest star violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols during the same week he led the Lakers to a win in the play-in tournament and a spot in the playoffs, according to ESPN.
James reportedly was one of several celebrity guests, including artist Drake and actor Michael B. Jordan, at a promotional event for the Lobos 1707 tequila company he backs. It happened before the Lakers beat the Warriors to clinch the No. 7 seed and set up a first-round series against the No. 2 Suns beginning Sunday.
The event included a brief outdoor photoshoot and attendees had to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result, per the report. Not good enough for the NBA standards.
“It’s a violation of the agreed upon protocols,” a league spokesman told ESPN, “and, as we have in other comparable instances around the league, it has been addressed with the team.”
Players who violate league protocols are subject to warnings, fines and suspensions. That’s a pretty wide range of punishments, so it seems unlikely the NBA would throw down the gauntlet by suspending James for a playoff game. The punishments get more severe for repeat offenders.
James has declined to say whether he received one of the COVID-19 vaccinations.
If a player is placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, he could be unavailable for 10-14 days. In the playoffs, that essentially equates to missing an entire series.
“Anything I do off the floor is predicated to my family, for the majority — for 99.9 percent of that,” James said Friday. “So it’s about the health and safety of my family, and that’s what it came down to.
“Me being available to my teammates on the floor is me taking care of my body. Me doing everything I can do to make sure I’m available both mentally, physically and spiritually, as well. But anything of that [vaccine] nature, that’s all family talk.”
Lakers teammate Dennis Schroder recently told a German-language publication that he and James had not received the vaccine. He updated his comments to say he was not the only unvaccinated member of the team but did not name names.
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