Lakers get coronavirus tests amid criticism over limited supply
A total of seven NBA players on three teams have tested positive for coronavirus
The Los Angeles Lakers offered optional coronavirus tests to players at the team’s practice facility on Wednesday, joining other NBA teams that have conducted testing as the outbreak has worsened in recent days.
The majority of Lakers players were tested, USA Today reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Other team employees, such as coaches and trainers, were not tested.
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It’s unclear if the tests were obtained through public health channels or if the Lakers paid a private firm to conduct tests, as the Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder opted to do.
A Lakers representative did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Several NBA teams have conducted coronavirus tests since last week when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive for the illness. A total of seven NBA players have tested positive to date, including four members of the Brooklyn Nets.
Coronavirus testing kits are in scarce supply in most locations. NBA officials have drawn criticism in recent days for performing the tests, including some on asymptomatic players, despite the limited quantity in states such as California in New York.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio publicly criticized the Nets acquiring tests through a private firm. The franchise paid out of pocket, FOX Business confirmed on Tuesday.
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An NBA spokesman said teams have tested players out of concern for public health since teams travel often and are in close proximity to fans. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver defended the move during an appearance on ESPN.
"I understand from a public health standpoint why some people reacted the way we did,” Silver said. “But from the NBA standpoint, we were following directives.”