Letters to Sports: Lakers, LeBron James and the vaccine dilemma

Lakers star LeBron James finishes an interview during media day.
Lakers star LeBron James, shown after a media day interview, has tried to stay neutral during the vaccine controversy swirling in the NBA. He has come under criticism for it.
(Wally Skalij /Los Angeles Times)

LeBron James has finally taken his COVID-19 vaccination. We don’t know why it took him so long because he never wanted to talk about it. He said he did it after doing his research and it would be good for his family and himself. I have another possibility. The NBA season begins this week, and if LeBron gets the nasty virus and won’t play, it will cost him a big chunk from his $40-million salary and he certainly wouldn’t look like a team leader. Just a thought.

Ralph S. Brax



When LeBron James says, “It’s not my job to tell fans to get vaxxed,” it is disappointing beyond words.

Current endorsement partners help James earn more than $100 million annually. LeBron, you have these endorsement deals because people listen to you. You know people listen to you and these companies know people listen to you or they wouldn’t pay you all that money.

It is not a personal choice to wear a seat belt, drive drunk, wear a motorcycle helmet, drive without insurance, spit on someone who angers you, and on and on and on. …

Without the vaccine, your stadiums would be empty, and if empty stadiums continued, do you think your outrageous salary would continue?

If you have the power to sway one person, that in turns saves one person’s life, isn’t that reason enough to encourage vaccinations?

Your outrage and voice for social justice is inspiring, and your words have changed the thinking of millions. I challenge you to use your outrage and voice for everyone to get the vaccine.

George Sagadencky


While much of the NBA ran from the COVID vaccination discussion, the Lakers embraced it, the league’s oldest team acting like its most mature Tuesday.

Sept. 28, 2021


Bill Plaschke, in his infinite wisdom, has decided that the Lakers, by getting all players vaccinated, are the role models for the rest of society. Dr. Plaschke says the team is not going to allow “unfounded fears and selfish priorities” affect them. Never mind that many in the medical profession have been hesitant to get the shots. For religious reasons, people are declining the shots. This is not about politics, Bill. It is about personal choice.

Bert Bergen
La Cañada


So Kyrie Irving doesn’t want to get vaccinated? He had to be convinced the Earth isn’t flat. The man is an idiot, and anyone who takes anything he says seriously is worse. As good a basketball player as he is, can he really be worth having someone that clueless around a team? As it stands, he won’t be able to play any home games. Talk about “load management.”

Peter Maradudin


NBA players like Kyrie Irving and Kyle Kuzma are not willing to answer the question on whether they are vaccinated because it is personal privacy. Let me clear this up and translate for them. It means neither player is vaccinated and don’t question me about it.

Matthew Kerster


I’m just wondering: If the anti-vax NBA players still refuse to get vaccinated by the start of the season Oct. 19, wouldn’t that be a shot-clock violation?

Joe Kevany
Mount Washington

Lakers star LeBron James said he was able to get the mental break he needed to reenergize himself heading in training camp. Teammates have noticed.

Sept. 30, 2021

Maybe next year?

Not sure what the MLB schedule makers were thinking, and it doesn’t matter what flavor of the year, free-spending team they think matters: The Dodgers should play the Giants the final weekend of the season. No matter what.

Maddox Rees
Santa Barbara


Dear San Diego Padres,

It’s cute that you thought you were going to compete with us this year. We hope you enjoy the playoffs … on television. We truly loved seeing all of your little dance moves, choreographed “high-fives” that seemed to go on forever, and especially your shiny, spinning San Diego “bling” necklace. Unfortunately, we think all that spinning might have hypnotized you into thinking you were a much better team than you actually were. Did we just beat you NINE in a row?

Signed, Los Angeles Dodgers

Axel W. Kyster

Revisiting the Ravine

That Gustavo Arellano story about “Don’t call it Chavez Ravine” was terrific. I learned a lot, and the black-and-white photos I’d never seen before were so stark. Thanks so much for running the column.

Henry Rosenfeld
Santa Monica

Three protesters wanted to remind L.A. about the Latino families uprooted to build Dodger Stadium. But even many Latino fans just aren’t interested.

Sept. 23, 2021


In 1949, the federal Housing Act was created to provide funding to cities for public housing projects. In 1950, the Los Angeles Housing Authority authorized a housing project in Chavez Ravine and residents were notified that their dwellings would be appraised and receive compensation, with priority rights to the new “Elysian Park Heights” units. By 1952, 99% of the residents accepted and relocated, and those who refused remained on their properties not paying property taxes. The land lay dormant for seven years. In 1953, for political reasons, the housing project failed and the few remaining residents refused to leave. In 1957, the city introduced Chavez Ravine to the Dodgers and, in 1959, after repeatedly being told to vacate, the last handful had to leave to clear the land for construction of Dodger Stadium. It was the public housing project long before then that resulted in the relocation of the residents, not the Dodgers. These are the facts.

Brent Shyer
Executive Producer
Los Angeles

Fall of Angels

I wonder if Joe Maddon and Perry Minasian realized the mess they inherited from Billy Eppler and company (Arte Moreno included). The seventh-highest payroll in baseball, yet 46% of it is tied up in three players (Trout, Rendon and Upton). And that didn’t even include Pujols. Trout alone earns more than the entire pitching staff. The roster construction and distribution of payroll has been abysmal. This isn’t a recent phenomenon. The team has had four GMs in 10 years. That’s not a formula for success.

Bob Kargenian
Yorba Linda


The Angels are, yet again, on the verge of ending another dismal season and could be in danger of losing Shohei Ohtani’s talent and possibly even that of Mike Trout. And who could blame either one for seeking a trade to a contending team? What the Angels desperately need isn’t so much better pitching, hitting or fielding as it is a new owner. The glaring mistakes of Arte Moreno ever since he bought the team are only likely to continue unless the team is sold. Do the fans a big favor, Arte, and put the Angels on the block so that a capable owner can put the team back on the track it’s been derailed from for nearly 20 years.

Tom Stapleton


The public shaming of Arte Moreno by his superstar players has been the biggest stand-up-and-cheer moment from the Angels in a very long time. Twentieth century ownership in the 21st century isn’t working. Sell the team, Arte, because I’m tired of being angry about the Angels.

Marc Gerber

Angels manager Joe Maddon had a different view on Shohei Ohtani’s postgame comments from Sunday.

Sept. 28, 2021


Thank you Jack Harris for the wonderful article on Angels center fielder Brandon Marsh. The Halos’ future looks bright for next season with the return of Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Marsh. His mother was relaxing on the beach in Georgia when she learned Brandon would be debuting in the majors. She flew directly to Anaheim with his late father’s ashes to witness his major league debut. This is the stuff movies are made of.

Patrick Kelley
Los Angeles

No defense for Trojans

Ryan Kartje’s obsession with the quarterbacks and the new coach seem to have blinded him to USC’s major deficiency: DEFENSE. No mention of the pathetic Trojans defenders in his wrap-up story about a game in which the Beavers manhandled Todd Orlando’s defense, accumulating 535 total yards and 45 points. Pete Carroll must be aghast.

Richard Jewell
Los Feliz

Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell and USC might not be an obvious match, but if Mike Bohn calls again, Fickell has a rare chance to lead a blue-blood program.

Oct. 1, 2021

Playing through?

Hey, NBC and the Golf Channel. I understand the value of sponsored television. But I am watching to see the action. Your excessive “Playing Through” featuring commercials alongside important shots during the Ryder Cup made me want to Play “I’m Through” and watch something else.

Glen Thompson


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