After missing over a month due to an ankle injury, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James nearly missed a crucial game down the stretch for a completely different, preventable reason. James reportedly violated the league's health and safety, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
James reportedly attended a promotional event for a tequila in which he has invested. The event — which was also attended by Drake and Michael B. Jordan — took place before the Lakers played the Golden State Warriors in the play-in tournament.
Attendees had to provide either proof of their COVID-19 vaccination or supply a recent negative test. James has not disclosed whether he's received the COVID-19 vaccine.
An NBA spokesperson told McMenamin the issue was addressed with the Lakers.
"It's a violation of the agreed upon protocols, and, as we have in other comparable instances around the league, it has been addressed with the team," a league spokesman told ESPN on Friday.
James played against the Warriors, and his performance gave the Lakers the win. James notched a triple-double, scoring 22 points, including a game-winning three, to take the Lakers out of the play-in tournament.
Will LeBron James face additional punishment from the NBA?
With the Lakers set to begin a playoff series with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, James' availability won't be in question. James will reportedly not be suspended by the league, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
This isn't necessarily a case of James getting star treatment. There's precedent for James to continue playing even after violating protocols. Brooklyn Nets star James Harden was fined, but not suspended by the league after he violated health and safety protocols in December. NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained that decision by saying it was Harden's first offense.
James should be good to go when the Lakers take on the Suns in Game 1.
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