With training camp set to start around the league at the end of the month, and the preseason scheduled to begin during the first week of October, slowly but surely the NBA has begun rolling out vaccination requirements.
For example, referees will reportedly be required to receive the vaccine, as well as all team personnel that work within 15 feet of players. In other words, all coaches, front office members, trainers, broadcasters, etc, will have to receive the shot. But the league mandate stops just short of requiring players to do the same. ESPN reported that “leaguewide vaccination of players is subject to negotiations with the NBA Players Association.”
But either way, unvaccinated players could be kept from playing in certain areas of the country this upcoming season. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, players who have not received the vaccine in areas with local requirements might not be allowed to enter their own practice facility or arena. Oddly enough, however, unvaccinated players who simply travel for a game to these areas with local requirements would still be allowed into the arena.
This follows local governmental policies, meaning unvaccinated players on the Nets, Knicks and Warriors are not allowed to play in home games. Visiting players are exempt from the vaccination requirements in NYC and SF. https://t.co/fPePW722Og
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 1, 2021
Fortunately, this should not become too much of an obstacle for the NBA, which has done a good job at ensuring players receive the vaccine. NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts most recently that 90 percent of NBA players have received their shot. But 90 percent isn’t 100 percent, so it’s still possible an NBA runs into a situation where a player is not allowed to be on their own home court.
I’ll be interested in seeing how this plays out in the coming months, especially as more cities likely begin to add local vaccine requirements for indoor spaces.