As many Americans hesitate to get vaccinated against CO…

As many Americans hesitate to get vaccinated against COVID-19, NBA legend Spencer Haywood is teaming up with a medical school in Las Vegas to tackle the mistrust of the health care system prevalent in some communities of color. The Basketball Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist has joined the dean’s advisory committee at Roseman University College of Medicine to work on programs increasing diversity in medicine to tackle this issue.

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According to Haywood, a lack of diversity in medicine is one of the factors that leads communities of color to mistrust the system and one that he hopes to tackle through his partnership with Roseman. "It helps when you have a person of your own ilk and your color to come to you and say, 'Hey, you know, it's OK to get the vaccine,'" Haywood said, adding that it's important to train more doctors of color who can serve their own communities.
The Golden State Warriors and Chase Center have remained in constant communication with the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. Following today’s mandate from the San Francisco Department of Public Health that any indoor event with more than 1,000 attendees requires fans ages 12 or older to show proof of vaccination, Chase Center will comply with this guideline effective as of the venue’s next event, scheduled for September 15, 2021.
The Lakers, Kings, Ducks, Galaxy and Chargers have mandated vaccinations for full-time employees at offices within the United States, according to a statement Wednesday from AEG, the parent company of the Kings and Galaxy and the Staples Center landlord of the Lakers. The requirement would include “limited exceptions as required by law,” the statement said.
The mandate would not apply to athletes. Players on those teams are represented by unions, and working conditions generally are negotiated in collective bargaining.
The San Antonio Spurs are joining in the efforts to get Travis County residents vaccinated. The team will be hosting a vaccine clinic at Thursday's NBA Draft Watch Party at Armadillo Den in Austin. The county's fire department will be on site to safely administer the vaccinations. Anyone who gets a vaccine will be given a free pair of Spurs sunglasses.
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic said that he’s been trying to buy a supply of unused vaccines from the United States and send them to his native Bosnia. Unfortunately, he’s not legally allowed to do it. “They just have donations, but not enough to vaccinate the people,” Nurkic said in a story by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “I tried to buy it for the whole country. I figured out the money, the plan and everything. But we still can’t do it.” “Even if we find vaccines, I guess United States laws say that until the American people are vaccinated, you can’t sell it. So, I don’t know what else to do. I really tried.”
There’s been an abundance of COVID-19 vaccines in the USA and Nurkic feels frustrated by the fact that he can’t purchase it to help the people of his country while others refuse to get it. “All these countries are suffering and you have the United States, obviously the No. 1 in the world, has the vaccines and people don’t want to get vaccinated,” Nurkic said. “I just feel like humanity has kind of failed, because all the countries around should get at least some of those vaccines, right?”
On Wednesday, July 14, the Milwaukee Bucks are donating two tickets to Game 4 of the NBA Finals to be raffled off to anyone who gets vaccinated on-site before the game. The vaccination clinic will be open in the Fiserv Forum Plaza beginning at 6 p.m. The winner will be randomly selected at 7:45 p.m.
The Toronto Raptors were the only team in the National Basketball Association not to play in its home arena this season, due to Covid-19 restrictions. On Sunday, they’re handing over the venue to health authorities to smash Canada’s one-day record for vaccinations at a single site. About 25,000 people have appointments for the clinic at the Scotiabank Arena, located in the city’s financial district. Joe Cressy, the chair of the city’s board of health, has claimed it’s bigger than any clinic in the world.
Ben Collins: John Stockton (yes, that one) is in this particularly over-the-top anti-vaxx documentary trailer talking about "my significant amount of research" about COVID-19. The documentary's page asks "Do Masks Really Work?" and "How Will We Really Know That a COVID Vaccine is Safe?"
Ben Collins: Here's Stockton's part in the trailer. (Yes, the music is like the end of a Marvel movie basically the entire time.)
Those in attendance must still abide by arena protocols, including wearing a mask when not eating or drinking. In an email to fans, the Clippers said spectators are required to attest to being either fully vaccinated — with their last shot of either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines coming at least two weeks before — or attest to a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours.
After a successful vaccination clinic and ticket raffle during Game 3, the Milwaukee Health Department is teaming up with the Milwaukee Bucks again for Game 6. On Thursday, June 17, the Health Department’s vaccination team will be on-site in the plaza at Fiserv Forum from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Everyone who receives their vaccination will be eligible to enter to win two tickets to that night’s 7:30 p.m. playoff game.
Nets Daily: Beyonce, Jay-Z, Trevor Noah joined a crowd 15,750 last night, 98% vaccinated. That's a sellout and only 2,000 short of normal NBA capacity at Barclays. Unlike Knicks (who no longer are playing ICYMI), Barclays is selling tickets to unvaccinated who sit in reserved sections.
Prior to attaining the threshold, film studies were conducted on the practice court with masked-up players and coaches spread out across the facility and doors were left open for ventilation. Multiple Lakers players told Yahoo Sports that Wednesday’s session felt “normal” again.
“You don’t realize how important and productive it is to have film sessions in an intimate setting until you lose it,” one Lakers player told Yahoo Sports. “When guys are together in close proximity, you’re much more engaged, and especially when you don’t have to wear a mask.”
New Yorkers who get vaccinated at Madison Square Garden will have a chance to score a free ticket to a Knicks playoff game starting Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. “The New York Knicks are joining us to speed up the vaccinations in the city, to reach more people and keep them safe,” Hizzoner said during his daily virtual press briefing while wearing a blue Knicks cap. “The Knicks are bringing the vaccination effort right there, to the Garden.”
Chris Haynes: Being around LeBron James for years, he’s always been private about his medical and never been one to endanger his family or teammates. This statements puts one thing to rest: he’s been vaccinated.
The Portland Trail Blazers, local government and Oregon Health Authority have partnered on a first-of-its-kind proposal, promoting vaccinations across Oregon while increasing Moda Center capacity with Vaccinated Sections. The announcement comes just in time for Rip City to cheer on the sixth-seeded Trail Blazers as they host the third-seeded Denver Nuggets in round one of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs, presented by Moda Health and your local Toyota dealers. The Trail Blazers are the only team with a playoffs berth in each of the last eight seasons. The Trail Blazers will host games three and four of the best-of-seven series at Moda Center May 27 at 7:30 p.m. and May 29 at 1:00 p.m. After Saturday’s win, the Blazers are 1-0 in the series, and will face the Nuggets again tonight in Denver at 7:00 p.m. If necessary, game five will return to Denver on June 1; game six at Moda Center on June 3; and a decisive game seven back in Denver on June 5.
Stefan Bondy: Tom Thibodeau says Knicks have not yet reached 85% vaccination threshold. He adds that they’re close and it’s a personal decision
It would appear, however, that there is at least one other player on the Lakers besides Schroder who has not been vaccinated. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Friday that L.A.'s roster has not passed the 85% vaccination threshold the league requires -- a minimum of 15 out of 17 players -- in order for a team to have its health and safety restrictions lessened moving forward.
Harrison Faigen: Frank Vogel tells @Bill Oram that the Lakers have not reached the 85% of the travel party vaccinated threshold that lead to loosened protocols on the road. He says the Lakers are "hopeful" they will get there so they can bond and be together on the road more.
Meanwhile, as cities across the country ease restrictions on movement and gathering as the number of vaccinations for COVID-19 increases, Silver stopped short of committing to completely full arenas by the time the NBA Finals roll around in July. And while seats around the court will remain in fewer numbers than normal, he expressed confidence that there will be far more fans than he expected in the seats as the playoffs move along. "I think it's very possible that come July, when our Finals will be, you'll see essentially full buildings," said Silver, who added that "close to 80%" of all NBA players have had COVID-19 vaccinations.
Over 50% of Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center can be used for fully vaccinated fan sections, boosting total capacity at both arenas. It’s a big deal — for the Knicks, this will be the first trip to the playoffs since 2013. (The Nets are back for their third straight year.)
“What was already an incredibly exciting time around Knicks basketball has just gotten even more exciting,” said MSG Sports executive chairman James Dolan. “All of those fans for Knicks playoff games are going to be loud, they’re going to be passionate and they’re going to be ready. The Garden is going to rock. We hope the team gives all of New York something to cheer about, and that this marks the start of a busy summer for the growing number of vaccinated people.”
Mike Vorkunov: Jim Dolan says he's hoping to have more than 13,000 fans in MSG for the playoffs for Knicks games under New York's new guidance with the vaccinated fans "sitting shoulder to shoulder" and tells people to get vaccinated.
Mike Vorkunov: "For Knicks home playoff games we're shooting to have more than 13,000 fans at the Garden," James Dolan said today. "The majority of whom will be sitting in vaccinated sections shoulder-to-shoulder."
Mike Vorkunov: Asked if unvaccinated will have worse seats than vaccinated, Dolan says they haven't figure out MSG seating yet. Should know soon. There will be about 10 times as many seats for vaccinated. Dolan: "It doesn't mean we're going to put all the unvaccinated at the top of the Garden"
Mike Vorkunov: "Go today and get your vaccination so that when these shows come," James Dolan said, "when the Knicks make it to the second round — Oh, I hope — you can come and we'll have a seat for you."
The Golden State Warriors are trying to make it as easy as possible for fans to enjoy games at Chase Center, by offering free COVID-19 tests to those who don’t have proof of vaccination. “We’re making this super simple for fans,” said Yoyo Chan, vice president of community relations for the Warriors. “We’re requiring fans demonstrate negative COVID test results taken within 48 hours of tip off.”
The team is offering free tests that can be picked up from Chase Center or the Warriors’ Oakland facility. The Warriors will also provide free, self-administered tests on-site at the Chase Center for fans who sign up for a test when they purchase their game tickets.
Sarah K. Spencer: Since the Hawks meet the NBA's 85% fully vaccinated threshold, as of this week they officially have some league COVID-19 restrictions eased. Now on off days, players don't have to come in and test, which has been a big help, Nate McMillan says.
Around 75% of the NBA's players have been vaccinated, sources said, and commissioner Adam Silver continues to appeal to front-office executives to encourage further player participation ahead of the start of the playoffs next week. Beyond the broader health benefits of vaccinations, sources said, Silver outlined on a recent call with the league's GMs the concern that all playoff-bound teams share: Losing a key player for a week could decide a playoff series.
Rose takes his Detroit roots seriously and wants to set an example in a demographic that has been somewhat hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19. "There are people that have apprehension toward whether they should get vaccinated or not," Rose said. "I did. And the reason why I did, because I hope to get back to some sense of normalcy."
The Orlando Magic are offering the coronavirus vaccine to as many as 2,300 Central Florida residents next week, becoming the latest NBA team to host such an event. The Magic partnered with AdventHealth and city officials to arrange the May 13 event at Amway Center, the team’s home arena. The Moderna vaccine will be available, free of charge, to anyone 18 or older.
Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee said he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Lee, 28, is considered one of the rare "breakthrough cases" -- one of only 6,000 or so people who have tested positive for the virus after going through the full vaccination process, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "I did test positive for COVID about two weeks ago," Lee said prior to Thursday night's 118-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I did get the vaccine the middle, end of March, but essentially this was just a rare breakthrough case. ... Right now, there's no timeline in the immediate future for me coming back and playing."
"I had headache, chills, sneezing, congestion, soreness, body aches," Lee said while reading a list off his phone to keep track of everything he dealt with. "It felt like I was hit by a car. Like hit by two cars at once every step I took. It hurt, it was pain, soreness. It felt like there was a weight on my chest for a couple of days, like it was just hard to breathe."
Keith Smith: Evan Fournier said he got his first COVID vaccine shot yesterday. He said he's heard some people who had COVID feel better after getting their vaccine. He's hopeful he'll experience that as well.
Bill Oram: AD on players getting vaccinated: "Some guys did, some guys didn't for their own personal reasons. I decided to for my own personal reasons. ... I'm trying to play my part and get 20,000 back in Staples so we can some more cheers in there than we have now."
Darnell Mayberry: Bulls players received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 on Thursday, according to team sources. The vaccination could explain the late scratches tonight for Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen and center Cristiano Felicio due to illness.
Malika Andrews: Pretty cool: The Milwaukee Bucks are offering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible fans 16+ who are attending the game against the Nets on Sunday (on ABC) at Fiserv Forum, the team says. Bucks President Peter Feigin: “We strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated...”
Can you share what percentage of NBA players have been vaccinated? Adam Silver: More than 70% of our players have received at least one shot.
On Saturday night, Clifford sounded more concerned that basketball fans might hear the news about his positive test and mistakenly conclude that vaccines are not effective or worth getting. Indeed, Clifford was not fully vaccinated when he likely was exposed to the virus. But he added that, if the tests were not false positives, he hopes the initial vaccine will make it less likely he develops COVID-19 symptoms. “I just don’t understand why anybody would be against the vaccination,” Clifford said. “I think that the more people that do it in our country, it’s better for all of us.”
The Miami Heat are on pace to meet the NBA’s threshold for team coronavirus vaccination coverage by the start of May, which should ease the team’s maneuvering through the league’s pandemic protocols for the final stages of the playoff race. A team is considered at the threshold when 85 percent of all players and all staff have been vaccinated for COVID-19 and have gone through the ensuing period needed for the vaccination to take full effect.
John Karalis: Danny Ainge on Toucher and Rich said the team has not reached the 85% of vaccinations necessary to loosen some of the restrictions by the NBA. Ainge says the Celtics are not an outlier in this, and many teams are struggling to get to that threshold.
Basketball Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal joined former president Barack Obama on an NBC special Sunday night to encourage Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines. The former NBA players — who have remained highly visible through their roles as analysts for "Inside the NBA" on TNT — exchanged humorous barbs and briefly spoke with O'Neal's mother before Obama joined them. "So I'm playing Kenny the Jet," Obama joked when he joined the duo, in reference to Kenny Smith, who is an analyst alongside Barkley and O'Neal on "Inside the NBA."
"Now, as the vaccine becomes more available, I want to make sure that our communities, particularly ones — African American, Latino — as well as young people understand that this will save lives and allow people to get their lives back to normal," Obama added. "The sooner we get more people vaccinated the better off we're going to be." Barkley said he's on the verge of getting his second vaccine shot, and O'Neal said he's been vaccinated, along with family members with underlying conditions. "But I'm not worried about me or my family. I'm worried about the average mom and dad," O'Neal said.
Under red-tier restrictions, the Kings can admit up to about 3,500 fans, but all ticketholders must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test completed within 72 hours of the event. The Kings said they are partnering with a testing facility in West Sacramento that will offer day-of-game testing at a discounted price for anyone with a ticket.
Magic Johnson: I’m fully vaccinated! I’m so excited I got my second shot. Cookie and I are now fully vaccinated and my son EJ got his first shot today!
The exact number is not known. Getting the vaccine is a personal choice. The organization did not make it mandatory. Not all of the players agreed to it. But a source said a “fair amount of players” received the one-time Johnson and Johnson shot. There are currently 15 guys on the roster, including Lamar Stevens and Brodric Thomas, both of whom are currently on two-way contracts. “It was a great turnout,” a source said.
Because it was Johnson and Johnson, members of the organization who received the vaccine during that rollout will not need a second dose. According to a source, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff, 42, received his vaccine earlier, prior to knowing it would be available to the entire team on March 30. Bickerstaff had the first dose of Moderna. His second shot is scheduled for Monday, April 12 -- a team off day following a weekend back-to-back and before the Cavaliers travel to Charlotte for a one-off road game, sources say.
Less than a week after DeAndre' Bembry was deemed eligible to exit the NBA's COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols, the 26-year-old guard took to Instagram to post a video of him getting what appears to be the COVID-19 vaccine. Bembry is the first known member of the organization to post about the vaccine. He spent about a week in COVID-19 quarantine in late March, presumably after being a close contact of a COVID-19 case.
Karl-Anthony Towns: Shot 1 ✅
For larger-capacity venues, testing or proof of vaccination would be required and capacity limited to 20% in the red tier. The threshold would be 10%, or 2,000 people, in the orange tier — and could increase further to 35% if all attendees are tested or show proof of full vaccination.
Despite the Herculean efforts of the NBA and the NBPA, the league is encountering a variety of problems in trying to get everyone in the league vaccinated against COVID-19. The teams having the most difficulty getting vaccinations include the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers, has learned. Numerous league sources described the situation as an ongoing, daily dilemma in which they are fighting against misinformation, historical truths about government abuse of vaccination programs in Black communities and logistical complications based upon different vaccination qualification rules in different states.
With the United States entering what the government is calling the “fourth wave” of COVID-19 infections, the slow return to normalcy is proving difficult in both the NBA and society at large. A league source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said teams have been instructed by the league office that they cannot jump the line to get members of their organizations vaccinated, and nobody will be forced to be vaccinated against their will. But at the same time, extraordinary efforts are being made to educate players and team personnel about the merits of vaccination.
One source said that one of the most difficult tasks has been dispelling myths being perpetuated by anti-vaccine advocates whose information is being re-reported by some mainstream media companies and spreading on social media and online forums. Privately, players have expressed that they are hesitant to get the vaccine due to systemic distrust in the U.S. government, in large part due to the infamous "Tuskegee Experiment," league sources told
For James in particular, outwardly stating that he received a vaccine, or planned to, would be the greatest thing he has ever done. Greater than any made basket, any championship won, any school opened or voting rights campaign spearheaded. “I think the opinions and actions of trusted sports icons could make a difference in encouraging their fans to get the vaccine,” Cheryl B. Prince, a retired epidemiologist who worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1980 to 2019, told The Undefeated.
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The last few days have been a whirlwind for Jovic, but the 19-year-old Serbian forward was not surprised when he was told Friday to take a flight to South Dakota to join the Sioux Falls Skyforce for one G League game. “Nothing was a surprise,” Jovic said, as the Heat returned to Miami following Monday’s 101-93 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies to open a three-game homestand on Tuesday against the Pistons. “I knew at one moment that I was going to go because they told me they want me to play a little bit. At this moment, there was no space for me to be on the court with the Heat guys. But they told me they want me to play. So I kind of knew [I would go to the G League], I just didn’t know when. It just happened to be now and I was really happy.”
That’s why Jovic expects to head back to the G League for more extended playing time at some point this season. “It helps me a lot with my feel for the game,” Jovic said of the possibility of returning to the Skyforce. “I can try to do things more than with the Heat because the ball is in my hands in Sioux Falls and it’s sometimes on me to work and try to get a shot. But when I’m with the Heat, I’m doing the same thing but it’s not on me to be that guy right now. I don’t know yet, but I think I’ll probably go back [to Sioux Falls] again and I think it’s a great thing for me.”