Shams: NBA Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine for Staff for In-Person Player, Ref Interaction

Adam WellsAugust 27, 2021

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 01: An official Spalding basketball falls through the rim next to the NBA logo on a backboard prior to the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Philadelphia 76ers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 01, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The NBA will reportedly require anyone who has interactions with players and referees during games to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, all personnel associated with an NBA team and arena employees "whose role involves interactions with players and referees will be required to be fully vaccinated to have in-person interactions for the 2021-22 season."

Charania noted this group includes coaches, front office employees and medical and equipment staff. 

During the 2020-21 season, after vaccines became readily available, the NBA announced fully vaccinated individuals would be subject to relaxed protocols. 

Some of the benefits given to vaccinated individuals included taking fewer COVID-19 tests, no quarantine requirements following close contacts and visitors at the team hotel on road trips. 

Speaking to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports in July, National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said 90 percent of players had been vaccinated so far. 

Leading into the start of next season, multiple NBA teams have implemented a vaccine policy. The Golden State Warriors will require all fans aged 12 and older to provide proof of vaccination to attend games at Chase Center. 

The Miami Heat are requiring all employees to be at least in the process of becoming fully vaccinated by Sept. 1. 

The 2021-22 regular season will begin on Oct. 19, with the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks hosting the Brooklyn Nets in a rematch of the Eastern Conference semifinals and Golden State Warriors taking on the Los Angeles Lakers.