Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status has been a hot topic leading up to the 2021-22 NBA season. Irving was forced to participate in Media Day remotely on Monday due to New York City’s COVID-19 regulation, and he won’t be able to play in home games for the Brooklyn Nets unless he gets the vaccine. Unsurprisingly, Nets owner Joe Tsai is hopeful that Irving will ultimately make the decision that will allow him to be a full participant during the upcoming campaign.
“Kyrie talks about it as a sort of personal choice issue, which I respect,” Tsai said, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “But we all need to not forget that our goal, what is our goal this year. What’s our purpose this year? Its very very clear — win a championship. And a championship team needs to have everybody pulling the same direction. So I hope to see Kyrie play fully and win a championship together with everybody else with all his teammates.”
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When he was asked about playing in home games at Media Day, Irving was non-committal, as the star guard requested privacy from fans and media members when it comes to his shot status.
“I would like to keep all that private,” Irving said. “Please just respect my privacy. Like, at all the questions kind of leading into what’s happening, you know, just, please, everything will be released at a due date, once we get this cleared up. But as of right now, just please respect my privacy regarding anything on home games, what’s happening, vaccination. Please.”
Irving’s teammates were understandably asked about his status, and no pressure was applied for him to do something that he didn’t want to do.
“That’s on Kyrie and that’s his personal decision, what he does,” Nets forward Kevin Durant said. “It’s not on us to speculate what may happen, but we trust in Kyrie and I expect us to have our whole team at some point.”
“Yeah, I don’t have any concerns,” Joe Harris added. “And no, I haven’t talked to him about the vaccine.”
Brooklyn’s first home game is on Oct. 24 against the Charlotte Hornets, so Irving still has plenty of time to get vaccinated and not miss any games. Now the question is if he will. If not, he’ll put his team in an extremely unusual, and potentially uncomfortable, situation.