Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports
The COVID-19 vaccine debate has taken over the NBA. The league is not requiring players to be vaccinated, but there will be stricter protocols for those who are not. Players not vaccinated could miss more time, and as a result they are putting their team’s success in jeopardy by not being able to play.
On the latest episode of “Tiki and Tierney” on CBS Sports Radio/CBS Sports Network, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal was asked what he would do if Irving was his teammate.
Shaq did not mince words. Here’s what he said:
“I would go upstairs and say ‘get him up outta here. Get him up outta here’ We can win with the one-two punch, a great shooter, and the rebounders we have. Cause now every day, we have to answer questions about him and what he’s doing. Get his ass up outta here. Whoever owns the Brooklyn Nets, get him outta here”
Irving was asked why he did not want to clear things up regarding the vaccine, but responded with the same, “Please respect my privacy. Next question.” He said all future questions about the vaccine will get that response.
New York City — which includes the entire borough of Brooklyn — requires every Nets player to have at least one dose of the vaccine to enter the arena or practice facility, unless there is a religious or medical reason why they cannot get it. Fox Sports’ Yaron Weitzman reported Irving is not vaccinated.
Irving is already seeing how the protocol will impact him, as he appeared at Nets media day virtually rather than at the podium at the Barclays Center like his vaccinated teammates did.