LeBron James had a wild few weeks, getting suspended, fined, and embroiled in a war of words with a rival. Then he got COVID….
After a turbulent few weeks that have seen him suspended, fined, and embroiled in a war of words with a rival, LeBron James now has COVID-19.
According to TMZ, James tested positive for the virus on Tuesday using a lateral flow test. A follow-up PCR test to confirm the diagnosis came back negative, however a third test came back positive.
James is fully vaccinated and, according to The Los Angeles Times, is asymptomatic.
The 36-year-old has now been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols and is expected to miss numerous games for the Los Angeles Lakers, the first of which was Tuesday’s 117-92 win over the Sacramento Kings.
According to NBA rules, a vaccinated player can return to action if he tests negative for the virus on consecutive tests 24 hours apart or if it’s been 10 days without symptoms.
“Obviously it’s a huge loss,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said before his side’s win over the Kings, according to Sky Sports. “It’s disappointing. We just want the best for him now. That’s where our thoughts are.”
Lakers forward Anthony Davis added: “He said he’s good. I think he’s asymptomatic, which is a good sign, but we want to make sure that he gets back.
“Health is most important. This is bigger than basketball. He has a family. We want to make sure that he’s good no matter what.”
It’s been a wild few weeks for the King …
In mid-November, James found himself engaged in a public dispute with Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom.
Freedom had publicly called out James and Nike for their continued business in China and for failing to call out human rights abuses against the country’s Uyghur population.
“Money over Morals for the “King”,” Freedom tweeted. “Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice.”
—Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) November 18, 2021
James fired back at Freedom after the Lakers met the Celtics on November 20, telling reporters, according to SB Nation: “I think if you know me, I don’t really give too many people my energy. And he’s definitely not someone I will give my energy to. Trying to use my name to create an opportunity for himself.
“He’s always kind of had a word or two to say in my direction, and as men, really, if you had an issue with somebody you’d really come up to them. And he had his opportunity tonight. I saw him in the hallway and he walked right by me.”
Shortly after his spat with Freedom, James earned himself the first suspension of his NBA career.
James was banned for one match after striking Isaiah Stewart in the face while jostling for a rebound position during the Lakers win over the Detroit Pistons, with the hit leaving his opponent with blood pouring from his face.
James returned to action against the Indiana Pacers days later, but was again not far from controversy.
On top of getting two heckling fans kicked out of the Gainbridge Fieldhouse, he also celebrated scoring with a crude gesture known as the “Big Balls” dance earned him a $15,000 fine.
He was also warned by the NBA for using profane language after told reporters that his one-game suspension was “some bullshit.”
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