NBA Adds Further Incentive For Players to Get Vaccinated

It involves not getting paid for games they're unable to play

NBA preseason
Wayne Ellington of the Los Angeles Lakers warms up before the start of a pre-season game against the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The saga of the NBA and vaccinations for COVID-19 has taken another turn. While it seems like the vast majority of players have opted to get vaccinated, there are a few high-profile holdouts. That’s especially challenging in light of regulations that several cities where NBA teams play, including New York and San Francisco, have established barring unvaccinated players from setting foot in their home arenas.

Now, Insider’s Sarah Al-Arshani has details on a new policy from the league that may inspire more players to get vaccinated. Simply put, if an unvaccinated player has to miss a game because of COVID-19 policies, that player won’t get paid for the game (or games) in question.

Earlier this week, Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, explained the policy. “Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” Bass said. According to an ESPN report, at least one team has gotten fully on board with public health: the New York Knicks are fully vaccinated.

And one of the game’s best-known players of all time has spoken bluntly about the need for more players to get vaccinated. In a recent interview on NPR, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said, “[I]f you want to play professional basketball with a lot of other people who would be endangered by close contact with people who aren’t vaccinated, everybody’s got to slow down and say, hey, we can’t allow that situation to happen.” It’s a logical argument; hopefully it’ll find some receptive listeners.

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