NBA Rumor: Coronavirus

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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.

I wanted to ask you about this: You told my co-worker Sam Amick that you had COVID before the season began. I know some players have had different experiences with it. Jayson Tatum said a month after testing positive, he still had symptoms. What was your experience like and what would you want people to know about the virus? Bogdan Bogdanovic: It’s tough. It’s not easy. You have to take care of yourself. My family and friends are wearing masks all of the time. They’re moving around a lot. I was trying my best to be careful, too, but I had to work out. I had to do my daily stuff. I was moving around a lot of people. You can catch it anywhere. Whenever you notice something, you should not be going anywhere. Just don’t do anything. That’s what I’ve learned in my experience and from other people. I had all of the symptoms except losing my taste. Other than that, I had everything. I had a fever. I had tiredness, fatigue, back pain, loss of smell. Everyone has different experiences with it.

Bogdan Bogdanovic: Those workouts were light too. It was just body workouts and not basketball workouts. I then went to Atlanta after signing and we couldn’t use the gym for the first two days because of COVID protocols. I had to test negative three times and then on that third day, I was able to go into the gym at night. It was tough. I have finally felt over the last month that I have finally recovered and am back to feeling good. I do remember that first practice I had with the Hawks, I was dead. I was really dead. When I got hurt, all I could think about was how I might not have been ready. I believe that every injury happens for a reason. There’s something that causes an injury, whether it’s mental or body tiredness. It was tough.

Clipper Darrell is still hurting about how it all went down in the bubble. The team struggled with a variety of issues, culminating with a loss to the Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals despite leading the series 3-1. For the thousands of fans unable to see their teams in person this NBA season, a part of their recreation and leisure is missing. Clipper Darrell, as one of the most visible fans of a team in the league after having attended nearly every Clippers home game for the previous 20 years, represents that separation anxiety.

Clipper Darrell joked that he was “hoping and praying” Ballmer called him, saying that he was ready to be quarantined just to support his team. “I mean, it hurts, man,” Clipper Darrell says. “Not to be able to cheer my guys on, high-five them, and tell them, ‘We’re going to be able to do this,’ man. And get that crowd pumped up. It’s my nature. You know, I feel guilty not being able to go, man. It breaks my heart, man, not being able to get in. I see Ballmer sitting next to them, I say, ‘Ballmer, call me, man! I want to sit next to you! Man, come on! We go six feet, let’s cheer these guys!’ But, you know, hey. I never get that phone call yet!”

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 BasketballNews.com.

Evan Fournier’s debut with the Boston Celtics will have to wait, as the newly acquired guard was placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Saturday. “I don’t really want to get into the specifics of everything, because I don’t know all the answers,” coach Brad Stevens said before the Celtics played the Thunder in Oklahoma City. “As far as frustration, it’s been a very consistent theme for us to be missing people. But hopefully that won’t be long term. We’ll see how this all goes and go from there.”

Bazemore considers his decision “a lifestyle thing,” as he is not keen on making allowances. “I do everything I can to strengthen my immune system, with hours upon hours of cooking, preparing my meals at home, really being conscious of what I put in my body and taking care of my health,” he said. “My family has a history of heart disease and all these different things, and I’m trying to turn that around for my lineage. So, I’m taking it upon myself to do everything I can to keep my immune system strong and live a healthy and long life.”

Unlike the teams, your staff is flying commercial, which adds another layer of potential risk. What has it been like for your staff? And how many have been affected by the virus? Monty McClutchen: Due to flying commercial, our referees have to leave two days in advance from home now, to make sure that they’re getting several PCR-negative tests before they go on the floor. We can’t do a PCR test, and then fly and then go on the floor. We have had some people test positive, a very, very small number. They were not impacting games at that point; the testing did exactly what it was supposed to do. But we’ve had people miss games. We’ve had more two-person games [instead of a three-person crew] than we’ve ever had in a season.


The director of sports medicine at AdvocateAurora, and sports physician for the University of Illinois-Chicago, Skiba says the long-term effects of COVID-19 have stumped doctors and wishes he had better answers for players like Tatum—who is not a client, but sounds like one. “He’s not the exception,” Skiba says. “I see that at least a half dozen times a week.” “A lot of it is a mystery,” Skiba says. “It’s like having a fleet of Ferraris. It requires a certain amount of know-how and mechanics to be able to take care of that fleet. And right now, no one’s got the owner’s manual.”

Athletes of all kinds are looking for answers. Skiba has become quite prominent in the sports medicine space on Twitter for his work on COVID-19. He has been hearing from athletes—including NBA players—through Twitter direct messages. Mostly he advises NBA players to proceed with an extremely conservative approach. Skiba has seen several instances of endurance athletes coming back too soon, which sets them back for months. He’s seen collegiate runners who regularly used to post sub-15-minute 5Ks who still can’t clock in under 30 minutes months after COVID. “The scary part is,” Skiba says,” we don’t know why that is yet.”

NBA announces changes to health and safety protocols for anyone fully vaccinated


Fred VanVleet practiced with the Toronto Raptors in Detroit on Tuesday, following a two-and-a-half-week absence triggered by a positive COVID-19 test result. On a Zoom call, the Raptors guard said that he had “two really bad days” of symptoms while “bunkered down” in isolation. “I tested positive, had symptoms pretty soon after that,” VanVleet said. “Back sore. Body aches. I just (felt) like I just played three nights in a row. Sore, headache, my eyes were hurting. I didn’t have the shortness of breath or anything like that. I had a fever for a day and a half, two days. But definitely nothing like anything I’ve ever had. I could feel that it was something different. I just felt the sickness, I could just feel it in me, I could feel it in my bones and my blood and my muscles.”

He expressed particular sympathy, however, for the coaches who have been away from the team, and took issue with a tweet from The Athletic’s Shams Charania that cited sources saying inconsistent mask-wearing among members of the coaching staff accounted for the spread. “If I was named in that tweet as part of the blame, I would’ve been really, really mad,” VanVleet said. “So, as a player who loves my coaching staff, I’m pissed off for them that that was even put out there. Shams is my guy, and I get it, he was reporting something that somebody told him. But whoever told him that is a few words I won’t [say in] public.”
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April 11, 2021 | 9:03 pm EDT Update