Adam Silver Says 'Most' NBA Players Will Get COVID Vaccine but Aren't Required

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 6, 2021

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver watches play as he attends the second half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters at his annual All-Star Weekend press conference that he believes most players will get the vaccine but that he will not require them to receive it.

"We're seeing this now, both in the actual numbers of people getting vaccinated in the United States and opinion polls, that people are becoming more willing to get vaccinated," Silver said.

"I think, as to those who have been hesitators, as tens of millions of people now in the United States have gotten the vaccine, that people are seeing, at least in the short-term, what the impact is, and they're hearing about how incredibly effective these vaccines are.

"My hunch is that most players ultimately will choose to get vaccinated. They have to make personal decisions at the end of the day—and I take that very seriously, and I take concerns very seriously. But my sense is most [players] will, ultimately, decide it is in their interest to get vaccinated."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 9 percent of the United States population has been fully vaccinated as of 6 a.m. ET on Saturday. At least 17.3 percent of the population has received one or more doses of the vaccine.

Three COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized in the United States: the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and the recently approved one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

President Joe Biden has told reporters that the U.S. will have enough vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of May.

Silver went on to discuss the benefits players would have if they took the vaccines.

"In addition to the personal health benefits, to the family health benefits, the economic benefits to getting vaccinated, because of the protocols we have in place, they are incredibly burdensome on our players and on our teams.

"But, for example, the CDC has already announced that if you've been vaccinated, you don't need to quarantine as a close contact. As you know, many of our players have had to sit out not because they tested positive, but because they were required to quarantine because of a close contact.

"So, in addition, right now, as we operate under the so-called work quarantine protocol, where players are largely only going between their homes and the arena, once they get vaccinated they'll be able to do more in their communities. And that's something we've already begun talking to the Players Association about. So there will be some real advantages and benefits to getting vaccinated for the players."

Vaccines have been rolling out in phases, with health care workers, individuals 65 and older, front-line first responders and individuals with preexisting conditions among those who have been eligible to receive it so far.

Silver has previously said the NBA would not "jump the line" to receive the vaccine.

For now, the NBA is moving forward with its regular-season schedule. The league has completed the first half, with the second half slated to begin next week following the All-Star break.