'I speak for me'
LeBron James confirmed he's been vaccinated against COVID-19, though that doesn't mean he'll be encouraging everyone else to do so.
During the team's media day on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers star said he's received a COVID-19 vaccine. James acknowledged he was previously "very" skeptical about getting vaccinated, but he said that after "doing my research," he determined "it was best suited for not only me, but for my family and for my friends."
But James was also asked if he feels compelled to send a clear message to Americans that they should get vaccinated, and he said he could only speak for himself, TMZ reports.
"I don't talk about other people and what they should do," he said. "I speak for me and for my family."
A reporter followed up by asking, "You don't think the issue is important enough for someone with your stature to speak out on it?" He again said he wouldn't do so.
"We're not talking about something that's political, or racism, or police brutality, or things of that nature," James said. "We're talking about people's bodies and wellbeings. So I don't feel like, for me personally, that I should get involved in what other people should do for their bodies and their livelihoods. … That's not my job."
Over 90 percent of NBA players have been vaccinated, The New York Times reports, though some like the Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving have declined to disclose their vaccination status. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, though, said he expects the entire team will be fully vaccinated for the start of the season.
Prior to James' comments on Tuesday, Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley argued that the Lakers star should clearly endorse COVID-19 vaccination, writing that his "word goes a long way" and that "through his mere silence, he's creating the impression that he might be an anti-vax conspiracist himself."