Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced on Sunday that Andrew Wiggins received a COVID-19 vaccination, enabling the forward to play all home games this season. Wiggins, though, has since made it clear he’s still skeptical of the vaccine despite finally getting the jab.
After a 121-107 preseason win against the Portland Trailblazers, Wiggins — who in March said he’d only get vaccinated if he were forced to and in September unsuccessfully applied for a religious exemption — spoke about his “tough decision” to get vaccinated.
Here’s what Wiggins said, via CNN:
“I feel like the only options [were] to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA. It feels good to play, but getting vaccinated, that’s going to be something that stays in my mind for a long time. It’s not something I wanted to do, but kind of forced to.”
The San Francisco Department of Health is requiring everyone 12 and older receive COVID-19 vaccinations in order to attend or participate in large indoor events. Wiggins is obviously among that group, so the 26-year-old would’ve been barred from all Warriors home games if he remained unvaccinated. The NBA also wouldn’t have compensated him for those missed games, meaning Wiggins — who’s set to earn $31.579 million this season — would’ve also missed out on at least half his game checks.
Wiggins may have qualms with San Francisco and the NBA’s vaccination regulations, but that hasn’t affected his relationship with his team.
“They didn’t make the rule,” Wiggins said of Golden State. “But I guess to do certain stuff, to work, I guess you don’t own your body. That’s what it comes down to. If you want to work in society today, then I guess they made the rules of what goes in your body and what you do. Hopefully, there’s a lot of people out there that are stronger than me and keep fighting, stand for what they believe, and hopefully, it works out for them.”
At Warriors media day, Wiggins said he was “confident” in his apprehension of the COVID-19 vaccine, claiming he knew what was “right” and “wrong.” Wiggins’ family apparently shares that viewpoint, as the former Minnesota Timberwolves No. 1 overall pick said no one else in his family is vaccinated.
“It’s not really something we believe in as a family,” Wiggins said. “They know that I had to. It came down to get the vaccination or don’t play basketball. I’m 26. I have two kids. I want more kids. I’m trying to do something that will generate as much money as I can for my kids and my future kids, trying to make generational wealth. So, I took the gamble, took the risk, and hopefully, like I said, I’m good.”
In his first full season with the Warriors in 2020-21, Wiggins started 71 of 72 games while averaging 18.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists. The Kansas product played the first six and a half seasons of his career in Minnesota. The Warriors have four preseason games remaining before their regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers in Staples Center on Oct. 19.