NBA proposing more strict COVID protocols for unvaccinated players

An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store in New York City.
An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store in New York City.
(Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

The NBA has told teams that a return to normal, at least in a relative sense, is possible provided players have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a memo sent to teams Thursday and reviewed by The Times, the league provided plans for what the upcoming season would look like under updated health and safety protocols with the bulk of the passages dedicated to players who are unvaccinated.

Those who aren’t fully vaccinated would be required to undergo daily testing and would be forced into quarantine if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive. Vaccinated players would be subject to limited testing and no mandatory quarantine.


Unvaccinated players would have to sit apart from others during team meetings, travel and meals. They also would be subject to mask requirements and have separate seating in locker rooms, keeping them as distanced from the rest of the team as possible.

For players who have been fully vaccinated, most aspects of professional life would revert back to pre-pandemic rules.

The protocols are not official. Talks with the players’ union are ongoing.

The NBA previously told teams that all coaches and staff members, plus game-night staff working within 15 feet of players, must be fully vaccinated.

Key matchups and more for the Clippers and Lakers after the NBA released the full schedule for the 2021-22 season Friday.

Aug. 20, 2021