Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving has reportedly not taken the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why he wasn’t present at Media Day. New York City and San Francisco have local vaccination requirements. If Irving doesn’t take the vaccine, he won’t play in home games this upcoming season.
A bombshell Rolling Stone article accused Irving of liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims secret societies are implementing vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for a plan of Satan. The All-NBA guard has already been a distraction for a Nets team that is favored to win the Eastern Conference, but it appears Kevin Durant is trying to quiet the circus.
Kyrie Irving reportedly will take COVID-19 vaccine because of Kevin Durant
According to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, league sources believe Irving will wind up taking the vaccine, citing influence from Durant, who has taken the shot. The two-time Finals MVP told reporters at Media Day that Irving’s vaccination status, as covered in the Rolling Stone article, is a personal decision for the Duke product.
“That’s on Kyrie, and that’s his personal decision,” Durant said. “What he does is not on us to speculate what may happen. We trust in Kyrie, and I expect us to have our whole team at some point.”
Irving was with the Nets in San Diego as the team began training camp. It’s doubtful he got the vaccine just one day after missing Media Day, but his status could change soon after what the NBA announced.
NBA: No pay if unvaccinated players can’t play
Players who are forced to miss games due to the executive orders governing New York City and San Francisco vaccination requirements will not be paid for any matches they miss. Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, announced the decision via a strong statement.
“Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” said Bass.
According to Tommy Beer of Forbes, Irving would forfeit $17.5 million if he chooses not to get vaccinated. Uncle Drew is set to make $34.9 million this season from his Nets contract. Brooklyn plays 41 times at the Barclays Center, and Irving could possibly miss games at Madison Square Garden when the Nets and New York Knicks play since MSG is in the Big Apple.
It will be fascinating to see what Irving decides to do. One thing is certain, though: The Nets aren’t winning the 2022 championship without him.
Kevin Durant knows Nets need Kyrie Irving
Irving is one of the top players in the NBA. He averaged 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in 2020-21 while shooting 50.6% from the field, 40.2% from beyond the arc, and 92.2% from the free-throw line. Irving became the ninth player in NBA history to hit 50/40/90 benchmarks in a single season.
Durant and the Nets took a 2-0 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals. However, they lost the series in seven games after Irving suffered an ankle injury in Game 4. Despite Brooklyn having Durant and James Harden, it needs Irving to win a championship since he’s such a dynamic scorer and playmaker on offense.
A title and lots of money are at stake for Irving this season. Nets fans are certainly hoping Durant can convince Kyrie to take the vaccine so the guard can play in home games and won’t be a disturbance.