Neil Olshey: Portland Trail Blazers are fully vaccinated

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers - Mandatory Credit: Steph Chambers-Getty Images
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers - Mandatory Credit: Steph Chambers-Getty Images /

The Portland Trail Blazers and the rest of the league held their media day on Monday, September 27, 2021.

A key question that surfaced in nearly every single conference pertained to the vaccination of players.

Thankfully, Blazers fans will not have to worry about any of their players missing games due to vaccination status, as Neil Olshey has confirmed that the entire team is fully vaccinated.

With the Portland Trail Blazers fully vaccinated, there’s one less distraction to have to worry about

Other teams aren’t as blessed as Portland as notable figures around the league have gone public about their doubts about the COVID-19 vaccine. Washington Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal is the latest notable figure to join a growing list of celebrity anti-vaxxers.

Kyrie Irving, Jonathan Isaac, and Andrew Wiggins are among other players who have chosen not to get the vaccine at this time.

In a virtual meeting within the National Basketball Players Association, there was a debate on whether or not the vaccine would be required for all team members, but the discussion was quickly tabled and labeled as a “non-starter.”

The cities of New York and San Francisco have required that athletes show proof of vaccination to be allowed to play indoor sports, barring religious exemption. Andrew Wiggins was denied his claim for religious exemption earlier this week, according to SportsIllustrated.

It’s yet to be determined what kind of effects will bleed into the season if these players remain steadfast in their stance against the vaccine. By local mandate, some of the unvaccinated athletes will have to miss games in New York and San Francisco. For Irving and Wiggins, whose Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors reside in those cities, would they be willing to sit out home games? Will their teams be willing to let them?

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Steven Ryan /Getty Images) /

The majority of NBA players are vaccinated, but the anti-vaxxers are louder

While at least 85 percent of the league’s players are fully vaccinated, the unvaccinated are speaking much louder about their beliefs.

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has noticed the lack of public support among the vaccinated players and wasn’t shy about expressing his disappointment when he spoke with RollingStone:

"They are failing to live up to the responsibilities that come with celebrity… By not encouraging their people to get the vaccine, they’re contributing to these deaths."

For what it’s worth, Damian Lillard made it clear that he believes the vaccine is the smart choice to prevent further spread of the infection and death, while still remaining respectful of those against it.

Whether or not that’s good enough for Kareem or Karl-Anthony Towns, who has suffered at the hands of the pandemic more than nearly anybody, remains to be seen.

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