Kyrie Irving is back to playing basketball, much to the delight of Brooklyn Nets fans, but the status of his vaccination still follows him around.
The Nets superstar sat out basically the entire first half of this NBA season because of his vaccination status. Kyrie refused to get the vaccine and while that was perfectly fine by the NBA, it wasn’t fine by the state of New York.
New York required basketball players to have been vaccinated if they wished to play in an indoors venue, Barclays Center, and since Kyrie isn’t vaccinated, he legally cannot play home games for the Nets. At first, the Nets were unwilling to activate Kyrie Irving only for away games, but as injuries started mounting and pressure started growing, they introduced Kyrie back into their lineup, and he hasn’t missed a step at all.
Kyrie screening for Harden is very fun action pic.twitter.com/TgDCUxQraM
— Matt Brooks (@MattBrooksNBA) January 19, 2022
Reporters grill Kyrie Irving over his vaccine status
By now, it should be explicitly clear that Kyrie isn’t going to get vaccinated. He’s been more than happy playing only away games for the Nets, and he’s unwilling to sacrifice on his personal choice which is something everyone should respect so long as he follows NBA protocols for an unvaccinated player.
Irving has played in four games since coming back, at Indiana, at Portland, at Chicago, and most recently at Cleveland. Kyrie has been instrumental in the Nets recent run of games, helping them come back against the Pacers and knocking off the #1 seed Bulls (even if he didn’t score a ton in this game, his presence alone was a major boon for Brooklyn).
He scored 22 a piece against the Pacers and Trailblazers before dropping nine and 27 against the Bulls and Cavs. He’s been averaging 20 points per game, 5 assists per game 5.5 rebounds per game on 47.9%, 36.8%, and 100% shooting splits.
In the Nets 114-107 loss to the Cavs, Irving had a heated moments with fans who he called ungrateful after they kept heckling the superstar.
Kyrie Irving to heckling fans: “Got y’all a championship, and you motherf*ckers still ungrateful.”
(via TT/_willswish, h/t @ComplexSports)
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 18, 2022
After the game, reporters continued to ask Irving if he was considering getting vaccinated. The questions are probably gaining traction as Irving’s presence on the team becomes more and more important now with Kevin Durant’s injury leaving James Harden to carry the team alone. However, Irving wasn’t having any of it and made sure to let the reporter know that he was being rude.
The media asked NBA star Kyrie Irving about his vaccination status 3 times in his latest interview.
Each time he explained why he will not take the COVID vaccine, but it was never enough. The media is trying to guilt Irving into taking the vaccine and it isn’t working. pic.twitter.com/FGQH4XJ8Wt
— Mythinformed MKE (@MythinformedMKE) January 19, 2022
While Irving is right here, he also has to know that these are the kind of questions he’s going to be hit with daily. His choice, while a personal one, is an extremely controversial decision, and people are going to come after him for it.