COVID Protocols to Prevent NBA's Lakers From Visiting White House
By Brian Freeman | Sunday, 18 April 2021 06:47 PM
The Los Angeles Lakers will not visit the White House to celebrate their 2020 NBA championship when the team travels to Washington, D.C. for a game against the Wizards later this month due to continued coronavirus measures, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN over the weekend.
However, the source did not rule out a future visit with President Joe Biden when circumstances allow it.
No NBA team has gone to the White House to celebrate its championship since the Cleveland Cavaliers were honored by former President Barack Obama in November 2016, a few days after Donald Trump won the presidential election.
When asked a few months ago if the Lakers were going to return to the NBA's traditional appearance at the White House to celebrate a title now that Trump is no longer president, Lakers star Lebron James said "it would be great," but added he had "no idea" how feasible it would be during the pandemic.
Although some on the Lakers have received the coronavirus vaccine, the NBA continues to require that clubs avoid holding meetings in large gatherings, according to USA Today.
In addition, scheduling difficulties make it hard to fit in such a White House visit, as there is not enough time between the game in D.C. and the following one to facilitate such a get-together.
The Lakers have also had to do without many of the other celebrations that have traditionally accompanied a championship due to the coronavirus, ESPN reported They did not have a parade and have also not unveiled their championship banner, instead covering it with a cloak on opening night with the message, "Stay Tuned, Lakers Family."
The Lakers announced the banner would be revealed on May 12 before the team's final home game of the regular season, against the Houston Rockets, when fans will be in the stadium to share in the ceremony.
The Lakers played their first game in front of fans this season, with a crowd of 1,915, about 10% of the arena's capacity of some 19,000.