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LeBron Makes A Quick Trip In And Out Of The NBA’s COVID Protocols, Leaves Questioning The Process

James Murphy
by in NBA on
  • LeBron James is out of the NBA’s health and safety protocol after multiple negative PCR tests within a 24 hour window.
  • He found himself in the league’s COVID protocols after testing positive in a follow up test added the the usual testing regimen to account for the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • LeBron is now questioning the process and how his case was handled.

LeBron James made headlines earlier this week for testing positive for COVID-19 and entering the NBA’s ‘health and safety’ protocols after a positive test on Tuesday. He left almost as quickly–he returned to the Los Angeles Lakers’ lineup on Thursday following multiple PCR tests within a 24 hour window. We all know that LeBron is fully vaccinated since he made such a big deal of it after months of misguided hand wringing and talks of ‘doing his research’. No doubt you were as surprised as I to learn that LeBron is an expert on infectious diseases despite not attending college.

No surprise that LeBron is now whining about the league’s testing process and what happens when you test positive. Or at least he says that’s what he’s complaining about. His gripe sounds to be as much about being inconvenienced and not given preferential treatment due to his superstar status–which is essentially what the process is *supposed* to do. Apparently not realizing that ‘asymptomatic infection’ is a real thing (surprising given his vast knowledge of infectous diseases) he now says that he was certain that he’d be cleared to play:

“I knew I was going to get cleared because I never, ever felt sick at all. I just thought it was just handled very poorly.”

Here’s how the positive test came about: LeBron tested negative on Tuesday in what I presume to be the standard weekly test given to vaccinated players. The NBA wanted to be especially rigorous in testing in the week after Thanksgiving as players were likely to be around more people than usual so they gave players a secondary test. LeBron tested positive in that one and landed in the league’s protocol. LeBron is now upset that the test didn’t realize who he was and that the league held him to the same standards as every other player:

“Usually when you have a positive test, they’ll test you right away to make sure. There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight to isolation and you’ve been put into protocol. That’s the part that kind of angered me. I had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by myself. They wouldn’t allow anyone to travel with me, no security, no anything, when I traveled back from Sacramento.”

“And then I had to put my kids in isolation for the time being, the people in my household in isolation for the time being, so it was just a big-time inconvenience. That was the anger part.”

While I’m not sure about the league’s testing system and if the fact that LeBron wasn’t immediately re-tested represents a breach of procedure you still have to feel for him. It must have been terrifying for a grown man to make the 385 mile trip from Sacramento to Los Angeles in a private jet without his entourage. LeBron’s biggest complaint is that the test didn’t realize that he was just getting in the groove:

“Going into Sacramento, I was getting into the rhythm — a really, really good rhythm — like offensively, defensively. It’s just been very frustrating either dealing with the groin or the abdomen, and then having to deal with the false positive that knocked me out a game, then knocked me off the floor and not being able to keep my rhythm. It’s just … it’s been a very challenging year to start a fourth of the season for myself. But, only good things ahead.”

At least teammate Anthony Davis feels LeBron’s pain:

“It’s just tough when you’re in and out of the lineup, especially when you, I guess, don’t really have a reason to be out. We were playing well. So it’s just frustrating a little bit, but no one is feeling sorry for us. We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves. We got to go out there and play basketball games with whoever is available.”

Davis has the right attitude but LeBron must not be on the same page since he’s done nothing *but* feel sorry for himself due to the positive COVID test. The NBA is requiring players to get booster shots by mid-December or be subject to stricter testing and social-distancing rules. If you have already guessed that this means another round of public ‘should I get vaccinated’ hand wringing from LeBron, go to the head of the class. Asked if hes received a booster shot and if the entire ‘false positive’ snafu has made an impact on his though processes he came up with this completely nonsensical answer:

“No, this process … we’ve all been doing exactly what the protocols have told us to do and taking the tests and things of that nature. It’s unfortunate when you get a false positive and you get put right into isolation. That’s just the unfortunate part. But we’ll see what happens.”

The Lakers are now 12-12 and in seventh place in the Western Conference. They’ll next play the Boston Celtics (12-11) at home at the Crypto.com Arena (yeah, I know they’re not renaming it until later this month) on Sunday.

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