The NBA fined Dallas Mavericks player Kristaps Porzingis $50,000 for partying at a club and breaking the league’s COVID-19 rules, a decision that prompted some basketball fans to question why the league chose not to discipline LeBron James for attending a party last week before a game.
Fans noted this disconnect between the two decisions on social media Tuesday and “but LeBron” quickly started trending on Twitter.
The NBA defended its decision not to fine James for attending an outdoor brand launch of Lobos 1707 Tequila before the Lakers’ May 19 game against the Golden State Warriors by pointing out that people had to test negative for the virus or be vaccinated in order to attend the event. LeBron became a primary investor in the tequila brand last year.
At the time, the NBA did say that James violated its COVID-19 protocols by going to the event and told ESPN, “As we have in other comparable instances around the league, it has been addressed with the team.” He didn’t have to pay any fines or miss any games, however.
Mavericks center/power forward Porzingis, on the other hand, went to a strip club that was open to anyone. ESPN reported that Porzingis was fully vaccinated when he went to the club and will not have to miss any games, though he does have to pay the fine. The NBA did determine that Porzingis’ outing didn’t require a quarantine.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN that “in consultation with medical experts, and based on all facts and circumstances, it was determined that (Porzingis’) attendance did not create risks related to the spread of COVID-19 and therefore no quarantine is necessary.”
“While we understand the inclination to compare [Porzingis’] incident to protocol violations by other players, including LeBron James, those facts are very different,” Bass said. “LeBron briefly attended an outdoor event related to an individual commercial activity where everyone was either required to be vaccinated or return a negative Covid test. The league reviews each potential protocol violation on a case-by-case basis, and determines quarantines and imposes discipline based on the individual facts and circumstances of each matter.”
Check out some reactions to both LeBron and Porzingis’ run-ins with the NBA below.