MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monday marked the Grizzlies first in-person media day since 2019. While it was a noteworthy return to normalcy, the subject of COVID-19 was ever-present at media days throughout the NBA.
When asked generally about the topic, Ja Morant did not hesitate to offer his status.
"I'm vaccinated," Morant said. "I have a baby girl, I travel a lot. Can't bring COVID back to her."
Prior to Monday, the only players to announce that they had received the vaccine were Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke.
In explaining his decision to get vaccinated, Desmond Bane offered perhaps the strongest argument of the afternoon.
"Whatever happens down the road, I would be fine knowing that I was one of those people that was at least trying to save the other people," the 23-year-old said.
Without giving precise figures, Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman said the team is "working towards" reaching a 100 percent vaccination rate, and characterized the franchise as being in a "very good place" in that respect.
Kyle Anderson said a public service announcement from the NBA that featured Gregg Popovich receiving the COVID-19 vaccine convinced him to do the same.
"When I saw Coach Pop do it, I have so much respect for him. That kind of got me on board," Anderson said. But its kind of tough to tell another grown man how to go on about their life. I just want everybody to be safe, obviously make the right decisions. That's really all I can ask for from my teammates."
According to multiple reports, over 90% of players are vaccinated. The NBA does not have a mandate for players, the association is working to achieve a 100 percent vaccination rate.
"It helps minimize the risk, said De'Anthony Melton, who revealed he received his first dose. "Having a niece and having little brothers, I wanted to be safe for them. And understand what I've got to do for my job at the same time."
Steven Adams, who was recently acquired from New Orleans, said he is vaccinated. He did not travel to his native New Zealand this summer due to strict COVID-19 restrictions.
Of those who were asked about vaccinations Monday, Dillon Brooks was the only player who did not mention his vaccine status.
"To each their own, we're all single human begins. I wouldn't be all for one thing or the other," Brooks said. "It would make your team or people around you's life easier."