The NBA has reached a vaccination threshold of 95% of its players, reflecting a steady increase since training camps opened this week, league sources told ESPN on Thursday.
That spike, which includes players who have received only minimal vaccinations, sources said, comes as unvaccinated players brace for lost game wages in the Bay Area and New York due to government mandates. local.
The story of unvaccinated players like Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards consumed the news cycle surrounding the opening of training camps on Monday, but teams indicate that several factors, including continuing safety education of the vaccine, have contributed to the increase of the participation of the players.
Near the opening of training camps, the NBA had about 90% of its players vaccinated.
The NBA and the Players Association agreed on strict policies for unvaccinated players this season, including the reality of significant isolation from teammates and staff.
The protocols will require unvaccinated players to be under many of the same restrictions that the entire League played under for the vast majority of last season, before the COVID-19 vaccine was available.
Vaccinated players, on the other hand, will have far fewer restrictions. For example, all fully vaccinated players, as well as Level 1 personnel (coaches and anyone else who regularly works within 15 feet of players and umpires, all of whom are already mandated to receive the vaccine) will not have to undergo daily tests. .
Teams have also been instructed to ensure that their seating arrangements prevent players who are not fully vaccinated from sitting together.
One thing that will be consistent for both vaccinated and unvaccinated players is the use of face masks, which the protocols say everyone will have to wear at all times in the team facilities, when traveling with the team and where required of otherwise in accordance with applicable federal, state, state and federal requirements or local laws, regulations or orders.
Most team personnel, as well as NBA referees, must be vaccinated.
In addition to Irving, it came to light that Golden State Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins may not play in home games this season due to executive orders in San Francisco and New York that require people to be fully vaccinated in order to be inside for entertainment.
Orders only apply to players who play in those markets; players outside the market are exempt from them. Players who are forced to miss games due to those executive orders will not receive any payment for the games that are lost.
The League rejected Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption.
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.