It was reported in late August that most NBA non-playing personnel would be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1 per guidelines for the upcoming season that begins next month. Unsurprisingly, players will face no such mandate.
According to Baxter Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, NBA players will not be forced to receive one of the available coronavirus vaccine shots because the National Basketball Players Association "has refused to budge on its demand that players not be required to take the vaccine."
The NBA and NBPA did not offer a comment to ESPN, but the Worldwide Leader added approximately 85% of the Association's players were vaccinated as of earlier this month.
The NFL, MLB and NHL also haven't yet mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for athletes, but unvaccinated players in those leagues must work and live under stricter guidelines. An unvaccinated NHL player could have his pay withheld if he misses time due to testing positive for the virus, and the NFL has threatened that players won't be paid for any game called off due to a virus outbreak among unvaccinated personnel.
ESPN reports the NBA and NBPA are still negotiating health and safety protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players for the 2021-22 season.
As of now, unvaccinated players for the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors won't be permitted to participate in home games per laws in New York City and San Francisco unless they receive approved medical or religious exemptions. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported weeks ago visiting players are exempt from the vaccine policies in those cities.