Maskless LeBron triggers debate after saying high school policy makes ‘zero sense’
LeBron James has courted further controversy after he opted not to wear a mask while watching his son play in a basketball tournament - days after commenting on high school players wearing face masks under their chins.
Los Angeles Lakers star James was accused of disregarding Los Angeles County Covid-19 rules which state that people are obliged to wear the protective gear in all indoor public areas and regardless of their vaccination status while watching his son Bronny playing for his high school team in the Staples Center.
However, the same guidelines state that people are given permission to remove their face masks when eating or drinking, and James was noted drinking water and eating popcorn in the third quarter of the game.
Fellow NBA stars Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, who were also at the game, were also seen without protective facial gear.
This comes after a tweet issued by James earlier this week in which he said it makes "zero sense" for people to wear face masks underneath their chins, something he says he noted while watching his son play in a prior game earlier in the week.
Sierra Canyon is part of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which follows guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
During school-based extracurricular activities, participants are required to wear masks indoors at all times while not actively practicing, conditioning, or competing.
Masks are still required “even during heavy exertion, as practicable” if participants are actively practicing, conditioning, or competing in indoor sports.
I’m sorry but I’m at my boys game and the mask underneath the chin makes ZERO sense to me!!— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 3, 2021
"I’m sorry but I’m at my boys game and the mask underneath the chin makes ZERO sense to me!!" he wrote.
Several of the young payers, reportedly including Bronny, were noted as wearing masks beneath their chin, something which provides no protection whatsoever against any potential spread of Covid-19.
James' outburst came after he was entered into the NBA's Covid-19 health and safety protocols after he was deemed as a potential Covid risk – but the four-time NBA champion was soon cleared after what appears to have been a false-positive and returned to the court for the Lakers' 119-115 defeat to the Clippers on Friday.
"Unfortunately, you get a false positive and then you get put right into isolation," James, who scored 23 points in the game, said after his stint of quarantine.
"There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight to isolation and you’ve been put into protocol. That’s the part that kind of angered me."
Regardless of the headlines James has incited due to his face mask stance, he will have been happy with what he saw on the court after his son scored a game-high 19 points in Sierra Canyon School's win against St. Vincent–St. Mary High School – who were coincidentally the team that LeBron played for in his youth before being drafted into the league directly from high school.