LeBron James, who returned to the court this Friday with the Los Angeles Lakers after his false positive for coronavirus, criticized the NBA for the “very poor” handling of that situation, which made him isolate himself for several days and miss the game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
“I knew they were going to take me out of the coronavirus protocol. I never, never felt sick at all. I know you can be asymptomatic (…) but I just think this was handled in a very poor way,” he said at the wheel of press after the defeat of the Lakers against their neighbors and rivals Los Angeles Clippers (115-119).
In his first speech to the media after what happened, James said Friday that this false positive incident made him feel “confused, frustrated and angry.” Asked what exactly it was that angered him about how they handled his tests, James detailed his criticisms. “My first test was negative and then my second test was positive. Normally, when you have a positive test they do another test at the moment to make sure. But there was no test right after my positive: they sent me straight to isolation,” he said.
“That’s the part that annoys me,” he added, explaining that he had to return from Sacramento without anyone accompanying him and that later he had to organize all his family and staff so that they were not in contact with him for several days. James clarified that the NBA has done “a great job” to combat the pandemic, but considered that in Sacramento and in his particular case things were done “a little differently” from what the protocol dictates.
The NBA announced this Thursday that LeBron James has exited the coronavirus protocol after confirming that it was a false positive. The Lakers star entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocol on Tuesday and was low in the duel that day in which the purple and gold defeated the Sacramento Kings (92-117).
The NBA announces that LeBron James has exited the anti-COVID health protocol and is available to play again … the Lakers star missed the last game in Sacramento for what ended up being a false positive. pic.twitter.com/MV6M6ppACp
– Alberto de Roa (@TikotDeRoa) December 2, 2021
The most likely then was that James would miss several games until he met the requirements to return to the court, but the NBA yesterday authorized his immediate return to the competition after certifying that his positive for coronavirus was not such. The NBA explained in a statement that the player has tested negative in two tests carried out 24 hours apart.
“James was initially placed on the protocol after a series of tests that yielded conflicting results, including an initial positive test that was collected on November 29. Additional tests confirmed that he has not tested positive,” the league detailed. The ESPN network went beyond the official explanations of the NBA and assured that James has tested negative in eight different coronavirus tests since he returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon.
James, who will turn 37 on December 30, confirmed in late September that he had been vaccinated against the coronavirus. This is great news for the Lakers, who will thus have their maximum figure ahead of schedule. This brief passage by LeBron through the coronavirus protocol is one more stage of the turbulent start of the season that “King James” is having. On the sidelines of the game he did not play on Tuesday, James has missed ten more games due to various physical problems and was suspended for an off-court game after being sent off for hitting the Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart in the face.