LeBron James Criticizes NBA COVID Process: "It Was Just Handled Very Poorly"

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LeBron was forced to miss a game because of his COVID diagnosis.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been the most compelling team in the NBA thus far this season, and not because of any elite play on the court. Their inconsistency in their first 24 games of the season have led them to a .500 record.

While battling injuries, COVID protocols, chemistry issues and new roster additions, it seems like there is a new issue with the team each week. Their star forward LeBron James has only played in half of the team’s games so far, and they are 7-5 when he is available.

After returning from an abdominal injury that sidelined him for a few weeks, LeBron’s next setback was a positive COVID test on Tuesday (Nov. 30), the day the Lakers were set to play the Sacramento Kings, as the NBA was hoping to curb any COVID outbreak after players came back from being with their families over Thanksgiving. James said, however, the league’s verification process for a positive test was not thorough: “Usually when you have a positive test, they’ll test you right away to make sure. 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.”

After missing the Kings game, LeBron tested several more times for COVID, as all of his results were negative. He said he figured this would be the outcome, considering he never felt ill from COVID: “I knew I was going to get cleared because I never, ever felt sick at all. I just thought it was just handled very poorly.”

James was able to return to the lineup last night (Dec. 3) to play the cross-town rival Clippers, where the Lakers would lose 119-116. It feels like each game, the Lakers have different players missing, which is likely a cause of LeBron’s frustration.

LA looks to stay healthy moving forward and secure a win Tuesday (Dec. 7) as their other rival, the Boston Celtics, come to town.