‘Significant’ number of Thunder roster, staff receive COVID-19 vaccine
The Oklahoma City Thunder organization, specifically members of the roster and basketball operations staff, received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, as first reported by ESPN. The number of personnel who participated in the inoculations was called “significant.”
The Thunder organization shared news of the inoculations on its Instagram and Twitter accounts, dispatches in which some players were shown receiving their shots. One amusing image involved Luguentz Dort jokingly holding Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s hand while he received his shot.
A link was also provided in the social media messages through which Oklahomans could schedule vaccine appointments of their own.
In January, Silver indicated the NBA was considering whether to utilize players’ COVID-19 vaccinations as a public service announcement to encourage the league’s fans, among other specific populations, to do the same.
Deliberations are believed to have cooled in some respects concerning such an action, although several NBA luminaries, including the legendary Bill Russell as well as San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, have publicly received the vaccination as part of the NBA’s limited PSA efforts.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver indicated earlier this month that “most players” likely will receive the vaccine, but the league will not institute any specific policy requiring them to get it.
The NBA, though, recently incentivized receiving COVID-19 vaccines for teams, players, coaches and staffs. The league suggested a possible relaxation of “some of its health and safety protocols for individuals who are fully vaccinated, changes including fewer mandated coronavirus tests, no quarantine requirements following contact tracing issues and even the ability to visit restaurants again,” per an NBA.com report.
The Thunder join the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat, among other teams, as NBA organizations that have disclosed receipt of COVID-19 vaccines since inoculations have become more readily available to the general public.