Kyrie Irving’s unvaccinated status has been one of the talking points of the NBA’s preseason.
The consequences and impact of his decision, not just on his career but the Nets’ 2021-22 season has encompassed what has been an entertaining preseason.
After walking on a tight rope in all media interactions since training camp began regarding their position on the matter, the Nets finally took a stance and announced that Irving wouldn’t play or practice with the team until he is fully eligible to do so.
Meanwhile, Irving has remained silent other than a doing brief interview over Zoom with reporters on Media Day. On Wednesday night, the All-Star point guard broke that silence by taking to Instagram live.
“This is about my life and what I am choosing to do,” Irving said referring to his decision to not take the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The financial consequences, I know I do not want to even do that,” Irving said. “But it is reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on a team, I have to be vaccinated. I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice.
Kyrie Irving address his stance on not getting the vaccine on IG Live: “It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money? You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after a championship? You think I really just want to give up my job?” pic.twitter.com/cYHCWGbnCo
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 14, 2021
It was due to a New York City vaccine mandate that Irving wouldn’t allow to play with the team in home games at the Barclays Center and in road games at Madison Square Garden.
His stance, which he believes provides a voice for the voiceless who have lost their jobs due to vaccine mandates, has nothing to do with the Nets organization or his teammates, he clarifies.
“This is my life,” Irving said. “I get to do whatever I want with this, this is one body that I get here. And you are telling me what to do with my body.This has everything to do with what is going on in our world. And I am being grouped into something that is bigger than just the game of basketball.”
Furthermore, his stance and its nature brought about reports and talks of the point guard leaving the game to retire. However, on the social media platform, he quickly put that discussion to rest.
“Nobody is hijacking this voice,” Irving said.
“See if they play this on their TV channels and if they play this actual truth somewhere before you start talking about me and what I am doing with my life. And no, I am not retiring. And no, I am not going and leaving this game like this. There is still so much more work to do.”
Since Media Day, Irving has only participated with the team in their training camp in San Diego followed by an outdoor practice a week later. No practice and no games.
His live session on Instagram, while it clarifies some aspects of retirements and agendas, still leaves plenty of things in uncertainty. Is he going to play or will he remain unavailable all season due to his unvaccinated status?