LeBron James angered over COVID testing drama: ‘Thought it was just handled very poorly’

LeBron missed Tuesday’s game against the Kings because he was in health and safety protocol

LeBron James expressed his frustration with the NBA’s COVID-19 testing policy following his brief stint in isolation and after his first game back in which the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Clippers on Friday.

James had received a positive coronavirus test despite being vaccinated against the illness. He told reporters after the 119-115 loss he initially tested negative Tuesday and then tested positive in a follow-up test. The rigorous testing protocol was implemented by the NBA ahead of Thanksgiving. He said he knew he was going to get cleared to play for Friday’s game because he never felt any sort of sick.

“I just thought it was just handled very poorly,” James said, via ESPN.

James said that Friday was the first time he was able to do anything with basketball as he sat at home isolating.

“Just confused, frustrated and angry,” he said. “I was sitting at the house and hadn’t been able to do anything. Today was the first time I’d been able to catch a basketball since Sunday. … I felt like I was getting into a really good rhythm offensively, defensively. It’s been very frustrating, not being able to get into a flow for myself. Hopefully it will lead to good things later.”

He had 23 points and 11 rebounds in his first game back. He had to sit for the Lakers’ win against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday as he entered the health and safety protocol.

“Usually when you have a positive test, they’ll test you right away to make sure,” James said. “There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight to isolation and you’ve been put into protocol. That’s the part that kind of angered me. I had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by myself. They wouldn’t allow anyone to travel with me, no security, no anything, when I traveled back from Sacramento.

“And then I had to put my kids in isolation for the time being, the people in my household in isolation for the time being, so it was just a big-time inconvenience. That was the anger part.”

James didn’t say whether he would get a booster shot, which has been recommended by President Biden and the CDC. The Athletic reported late Friday the NBA will subject players who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster by Dec. 17 to game day testing. By the same date, staff members who don’t get the booster will reportedly not be allowed to be around players to travel with the team.