We knew that the Lakers were planning to start vaccinating their employees against COVID-19, and while we don’t know how many players, coaches and other staffers have gotten the vaccine, we do know that Montrezl Harrell is one of them.
How do we know this? Well, because he posted a video of himself taking off his entire shirt to excitedly get vaccinated on Instagram.
Warning — Extremely relatable content alert:
Montrezl Harrell was so hyped to get vaccinated Love to see it! pic.twitter.com/yXQ0eHO6Vw— Tomer Pfizarly (@TomerAzarly) April 17, 2021
And beyond being the right thing to do to help our society slow the spread of the coronavirus and providing himself and his family with an added layer of protection against the pandemic, Harrell getting the vaccine will also provide practical benefits at work.
The NBA sent out a memo to teams about what increased freedoms players that were fully vaccinated would get, and it was obtained by Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
Specifically, the changes to the protocols apply to any person who is “two weeks past their final dose and any team where 85% of players and 85% of staff are fully vaccinated,” the memo states.
Fully vaccinated individuals will no longer have to quarantine following exposure to COVID-19; can have friends, family and others visit at home and on the road without having them test or register with the team; and can dine outdoors at restaurants, among other eased restrictions.
Fully vaccinated teams will no longer have to wear masks at the practice facility; have more flexibility to leave the team hotel on the road; and can dine indoors or outdoors at restaurants, among other eased restrictions.
So in short, in addition to being the right thing to do individually and societally, getting vaccinated will provide a pseudo competitive advantage for players and teams who do so. The Lakers have lost multiple players and other team personnel to the health and safety protocols this season, and Marc Gasol even got infected. With the vaccine, that will in all likelihood no longer be an issue for the team, and so aside from just being able to see family and friends and otherwise getting back closer to normal life, these players will also be able to ensure their availability for their teams.
With all that in mind, no wonder Harrell was so excited.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the CDC website, or read the work of my colleagues at Vox. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.