LAKE BUENA VISTA — Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams of the Clippers is being quarantined for 10 days in the NBA bubble at Disney World because of a stop he made at a strip club while attending a funeral in Atlanta, the league said Sunday.
Williams, winner of the past two Sixth Man awards, will miss at least two of the Clippers’ seeding games, including their Thursday opener against the Lakers. It’s possible he could miss more than two because his likely release from quarantine will be Aug. 4, the day of the Clippers’ third seeding game.
The issue was not that Williams left the bubble — the absence was excused — but that he also went to the club. Photographs of that visit — with him wearing a type of mask that the NBA has distributed inside the bubble at Disney World — appeared on social media.
One of those photos, by rapper Jack Harlow, was quickly deleted his Instagram story, and Harlow posted on Twitter on Friday, “That was an old pic of me and Lou. I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him.”
In the photograph, Williams is holding a drink and wearing the NBA bubble mask.
The photos prompted an investigation by NBA security and ultimately the 10-day ruling.
Williams told investigators he went to the Magic City strip club for dinner for a short time Thursday and no entertainers were present, ESPN reported.
Williams has often described the club as being his favorite restaurant, and the establishment even has chicken wings named for him on the menu.
On Friday, Williams wrote on Twitter, “Ask any of my teammates what’s my favorite restaurant in Atlanta is. Ain’t nobody partying. Chill out lol. #Maskon #inandout.”
Players are subject to a minimum four-day quarantine after they leave campus on an excused absence. But by Williams being in a group of people and potentially exposing himself to the coronavirus, the NBA decided that a longer quarantine was required to ensure the safety of those in the bubble.
Per NBA policy, Williams was tested for the coronavirus each day he was away from the bubble, ESPN reported.
The Clippers were not practicing Sunday and not expected to comment on the NBA’s ruling before Monday.
They had 10 players available for their scrimmage against the Wizards on Saturday night. With Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley also having left the bubble for personal reasons and now Williams gone for an extended absence, they’ll be short-handed for the foreseeable future as well.
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Williams is a Sixth Man of the Year candidate against this season, averaging 18.7 points this season for the Clippers, third on the team. The Clippers have secured a playoff spot and enter the restart sitting second in the Western Conference, 5½ games behind the Lakers and 1½ games ahead of the third-place Nuggets.
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