While the NBA still strongly suggests that all players, coaches and staff members receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the league will not introduce a vaccine mandate for next season, according to Yahoo Sports. Unvaccinated players may be subject to periodic testing, however, pending discussions with the National Basketball Players Association. 

This is in line with the NBA’s health and safety policies from last season, when vaccine requirements were left up to local cities and states. Players did not have to get the vaccine, but they did have to follow local guidelines and unvaccinated players were subject to more stringent testing and restrictions. 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Most players chose to get vaccinated, and the league boasted a 95 percent vaccination rate heading into last season. Even Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who was initially against the vaccine, chose to receive it in order to play home games in the Bay Area. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 8: Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during a game against the Toronto Raptors on December 8, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

There were still some notable holdouts, however. Philadelphia 76ers wing Matisse Thybulle was unable to play in Games 3, 4 and 6 of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors because he was unvaccinated and thus unable to enter Canada. 

Jun 5, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts after making a basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of game one in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Most states, including California and New York, have now lifted vaccine requirements for attending large events, and the vast majority of the league is vaccinated so there shouldn’t be any major issues along the lines of Irving’s next season. However, COVID-19 vaccination is still required to enter Canada, so any unvaccinated players will not be able to play road games against the Raptors unless the country changes its rules.

Courtesy: CBS Sports


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