The biggest story of Monday’s NBA media extravaganza was the small number of players who remained unvaccinated against COVID-19 heading into the 2021-22 season, and how their decisions could affect availability. The Lakers held their event Tuesday, but questions about vaccines, unsurprisingly, continued.
During his press conference, Los Angeles star LeBron James publicly declared for the first time that he had been vaccinated. James noted that the group never met to have a conversation about the COVID-19 vaccine, but there was an understanding about the best ways to “always be available and protect each other.” (Several Lakers players stated that the team would be 100 percent vaccinated before the regular season opener.)
MORE: Kyrie Irving Addresses Vaccination Status Uncertainty
“The end goal is obviously to win a championship, and it starts with being – obviously health is the main thing, and also holding each other accountable on the court,” James said. “We’re excited to hear that we’ve given each other another chance to be available to each other, and that’s what it came down to.”
James admitted that he was initially “skeptical,” but after doing some research on the subject, he felt that getting vaccinated was the right thing to do for him and his family. However, he did not want to position himself as an advocate for vaccines, saying that he was only speaking for himself and that he would not use his platform to tell other people what to do. A recent report by Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone He said league officials could ask James and current NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to appear in a vaccination public service announcement, but the NBA did not press them on the issue.
“We are talking about people’s bodies,” James said. “We are not talking about something that is political, racism or police brutality and things of that nature. We are talking about the bodies and the well-being of the people. I do not feel, personally, for me, that I should get involved.” on what other people should do for their bodies and their livelihoods. It would be me, speaking of someone, if they should take this job or not. Listen, you have to do what is best for yourself and your family if you are to relocate. You have to do the best for your family.
“I know what I did for me and my family. I know some of my friends and what they did for their families. But when it comes to speaking up for everyone and their individualities and the things they want to do, I don’t feel like that’s not me. job “.
That wasn’t all James had to say on Los Angeles media day. Here’s what the future Hall of Famer discussed on Tuesday:
On the narrative and jokes about the Lakers’ old age
“The narrative about our age, I laugh at it. In fact, I really laugh at them. I’m not just saying that. Some of them, some of the memes, and some of the jokes have been extremely funny. people read tabloids and things of that nature. The game is won on those four lines. You don’t win on a lower indicator. You don’t win on the newspaper. You don’t win on sports talk shows and things like that.
“If we go out and put in time, we work, we make our own narrative. One thing we know, where we are, is that we have a lot of guys that have been in this league for quite some time. Who understand and know what it takes to win. That’s the business we’re in, winning, doing it all the time and not just occasionally. So I’m looking forward to that. “
On how Russell Westbrook will fit in with the Lakers
“It was exciting to help put this team together this summer, to understand what I felt and what we all feel, that it would help us be a title contender, make us as explosive as we could be both on offense and defense. Obviously It’s all about putting the work in. I’m not going to sit here and talk about hypotheticals and things of that nature, but we have a team that is eager to get the work done.
“As for Russ, we need Russ to be Russ. We don’t need Russ to change for anyone. That’s why we have him. It’s our job to help him feel comfortable in our system. He’s going to be as dynamic as he has. He always has been. I look forward to that. “
On what he has to prove this season
“I have to show my teammates that I am available, that I hold myself accountable, that I am the leader that I say I am, and that every night I will be there for them in the positive and negative moments. Every day, I wake up with that responsibility, and I take it seriously. Leadership, for me, is not something sometimes. It’s 365 days, 366 in a leap year and 24/7. I practice it. I preach it I live. That’s my goal. That’s my determination.
“I have to show it to my boys every day. That’s what I have very, very high, and I keep in my heart.”
On the importance of having a full offseason to bounce back
“I said it several times that the season came too fast for everyone. Not just us and the Heat who played in the Finals, but everyone who was part of the ‘bubble’ and things like that. But the four months that I had to just recalibrate, obviously go back to rest a little, but also to regain a fresh mind: (you can) spend a lot of time with your friends and your family and things of that nature, but you also put in a lot of work, get healthy, that you couldn’t do in that short period of time from the ‘bubble’ to the beginning of last season. I think everyone has benefited from that. “
Watch LeBron James on Lakers Media Day
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.