NBA punishes Kristaps Porzingis for strip club visit after letting LeBron James off easy

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A trip to a strip club cost Kristaps Porzingis more than just a few singles.

The NBA fined the former Knicks star and current Mavericks forward $50,000 for visiting a Los Angeles gentlemen’s club Sunday, according to ESPN, a violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocol that prohibits players from visiting bars, clubs and lounges.

The punishment raised some eyebrows, considering NBA golden boy and Lakers star LeBron James was not fined for violating COVID-19 protocols by attending a promotional event for a tequila company last week.

“While we understand the inclination to compare this incident to protocol violations by other players, including LeBron James, those facts are very different,” the league said in a statement to The Athletic. “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.”

Because Porzingis was vaccinated against the coronavirus, the 26-year-old will not miss any playoff games against the Clippers or be required to quarantine. Medical experts the league consulted said Porzingis being at the club “did not create risks related to the spread of COVID-19,” which is in line with studies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that show the vaccines are effective in preventing virus transmission.

James, 36, has not said whether he has been vaccinated.

Porzingis, who was forced to miss a scrimmage last July after missing a COVID-19 test in the NBA’s Orlando bubble, is in the middle of a five-year, $158 million contract with Dallas.

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