LeBron James Plays Fast and Loose With the NBA’s COVID Protocol Rules

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

During the past fifty-seven years of COVID — okay, slight exaggeration, but doesn’t it seem that long? — we have learned that the pesky virus bearing a Made in China label is beyond clever. It knows not to travel beyond six feet. It is deadly in any small business setting, but steers clear of all big box stores. It would immediately unleash the Apocalypse in a church gathering, but avoids mass protests. It can be stopped dead in its tracks by wearing a mask or two. Or not. It has also revealed that approximately 73% of all people who visit one of the aforementioned big box stores are unaware that air both comes in and goes out through their nose, this based on their wearing their masks as a hammock for their double chins. But I digress.

Another COVID-related fact we have learned is that when it comes to the rules regarding social distancing and the like, said rules apply solely to those who may have voted Republican in the last election. The latest example of this is how the NBA is blissfully ignoring how LeBron James violated the league’s rules regarding players potentially exposing themselves to the virus.

Reluctantly quoting ESPN:

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was found to be in breach of the NBA’s health and safety protocols this week, a league spokesperson told ESPN on Friday night.

James won’t be suspended, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, as the nature of the event didn’t rise to a threat level of virus spread.

So let’s figure this out. He broke the rules, but since there was no threat of being exposed to the virus it doesn’t matter. Okay then. So why have the rules against doing something if the something you’re doing is okay? Back to the story:

“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.

Yeah, really bringing the hammer of justice down there.

The story goes on to mention how James refuses to state if he’s been vaccinated or not. This borders on the surreal. Why is it so difficult to say yes or no? Say yes, and everyone who counts in James’ social circles will applaud. Say no, and suddenly James will be considered a hero among the anti-vaxxers? That’s about as likely to happen as the NBA league office fervently hoping this year’s Finals matchup will be Utah and Milwaukee. Maybe James is afraid of needles, although given the several pounds of ink he wears that seems rather unlikely.

Let’s bring reality into the conversation. If Joe Benchwarmer on the Lakers was found to have been within sixty yards of someone with the sniffles, he would immediately be isolated from the rest of humanity and be given a continuous Lysol baptism for the next ten days, if not longer, to make sure he didn’t pass along the virus he may or may not have to his teammates. But when the player is LeBron James? Don’t be silly. James could be found mainlining Wuhan Wowie and the only discipline he’d face would be having his reserved parking spot at the Staples Center moved over one place. If that much.

There is, of course, a line of thought that given James’ overt affection for all things China save anything connected to the Uighurs, perhaps those wonderful people who bring you slave or near-slave labor-made Nike expensive collectible shoes have quietly developed a COVID vaccine of their own and slipped it to James. If you can’t take care of your biggest cheerleader, obviously you’re doing it wrong.

So fear not, Lakers fans and NBA head honchos. LeBron James won’t get anything save perhaps a tsk-tsk for violating league rules. And why should he? James is, after all, the living sports equivalent to a no longer with us musician immortalized by Dave Chappelle with these four words: “I’m Rick James, bitch!”

It’s good to be king.