This much we know: two players on the Los Angeles Lakers tested positive for COVID-19, or the coronavirus, and the team plans to test the rest of its roster and some members of its staff soon. What we don’t know is which two players tested positive, but we do know that JaVale McGee isn’t one of them, according to his sister, WNBA player and Dallas Wings center Imani McGee-Stafford:
My brother safe, stop saying he got the rona. Thank you.— Imani McGee-Stafford (@imanitrishawn_) March 20, 2020
If that wasn’t a direct enough confirmation for you, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that league sources were telling him the same thing:
Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee — who has asthma and experienced a bout with pneumonia last season — tested negative for the coronavirus, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 20, 2020
This is good news for all the reasons that Haynes just noted, as people with respiratory issues are considered more at-risk with this disease. That leaves 16 other Lakers (if including their two-way contract players) that could be the ones who tested positive.
And who they are, really, is none of our business. During the season, teams are required to release injury reports that list which players have illnesses and injuries for practical reasons — so they don’t spread it to anyone else, and so that gamblers, media, fans and other interested parties can evaluate matchups, respectively.
But games are suspended right now. While NBA players come into contact with a lot of people during the season, and so it’s somewhat newsworthy if they get a disease this contagious, we’ve also seen the first wave of these players get ill (so there is less novelty and newness to the news) and now these guys have been quarantined for about a week, so it’s less of the public’s business now.
A lot of people are going to get this disease, unfortunately, and without games to plan around, these players are entitled to the same privacy any of us is afforded with a medical diagnosis.
It’s human nature to be curious, to want to know which players have this, and if they want to share their diagnosis in order to raise awareness, good for them. But if they don’t, they should be entitled to a certain level of discretion. Kudos to the Lakers for affording it to them so far.