Brooklyn Nets part-time superstar Kyrie Irving is not buckling to the pressure of getting vaccinated.
There’s no I team, but there damn sure is one in Kyrie and Irving. Irving is doubled down on his stance of not being vaccinated and is keeping that BIG contrarian energy he loves to have. Following an MLK Day loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers that saw Irving drop a team-high 27 points in his fourth game back after sitting out the entire year, the proudly unvaccinated superstar got into a back and forth with a reporter about getting the proven life-saving shot.
With Kevin Durant now sidelined with an MCL sprain in his left knee that could see him sitting on the sideline for 4-6 weeks, a reporter asked Irving if Durant’s injury could compel him to get vaccinated. In typical word salad fashion, Irving explained why he is “rooted” in his decision to not get vaccinated even with his team being decimated by injury and down its top-scoring superstar.
“That’s what I think comes into a lot of this culture and basketball and sport and entertainment,” Irving said after the game. “You bring in teams, and you bring in situations. Kev’s going to heal, Kev’s going to be OK, and we’re going to have to deal with that as his teammates. But in terms of where I am with my life outside of this, I stay rooted in my decision. And that’s just what it is.”
“It’s not going to be swayed just because of one thing in this NBA life. That somehow it’s brought to my attention as being more important than what’s going on in the real world. It’s just not happening for me. Again, I respect everyone else’s decision, I’m not going to ever try to convince anyone of anything or any of that, I’m just standing rooted in what I believe in. And though we’re dealing with this right now with Kev, I just know that I’m protected by the organization, I’m protected by my teammates, I’m protected by all the doctors I’ve talked to. And I just stand rooted,” he further stated.
Irving went on to say the focus on his vaccination status bothers him, mainly because it centers around him being available to play basketball and not around his personal life.
“I’m not bringing science into a basketball game,” he said while regurgitating a sentiment he has often expressed: “My message has always been I respect what everyone else is doing with their bodies, I respect what everyone else is doing in terms of their livelihoods, and I’m here to support, but what’s going on with me is I’m taking it one day at a time, that’s it.”
Irving got even more defensive about his stance when a reporter pointed out that millions of people are concerned about his vaccination status because it affects his playing time.
“That’s what I’m saying,” Irving said. “You’re bringing my vaccination status into a basketball game, and I live my life, the majority of the time, when I’m away from this. So when I say I’m not getting vaccinated and I’m making a choice with my life, somehow it gets mixed into, ‘Well, what about the basketball?’ When it’s like no, bro. We live in a real world. It’s great to be able to do this. I’m grateful for the opportunity. I love being with my teammates. I love playing on the Nets, but I’ve already been away enough time to think about this, to process it, to be able to make this decision, stand strong, understand that people are gonna agree and some people are gonna disagree.
“The circumstances that are at hand, I’m praying that they get changed, and we’re able to do things differently, and that’s not just for me — that’s for all those that are dealing with being unvaccinated and getting fired from work on a day-to-day basis. It’s not just about me. That’s been my message this whole time. So though I feel your feeling and emotion for asking that question, it’s just like, sometimes it feels a little disrespectful. I’m not just a basketball player, bro. Millions of fans. I appreciate all of it, but it’s not just about the game.”
Irving is right when he says it’s not just about the game. It’s about protecting himself, those around him, and his family. SO it’s mind-boggling that he believes his stance on not getting vaccinated benefits both him and those closest to him when in reality it doesn’t.
At this point, Kyrie Irving chooses to ignore the numbers that do not support his stance. Over 3 billion people globally, including his teammates, are fully vaccinated and perfectly fine. Many of his Nets squadmates can attest to what the vaccine has done for them, making their COVID-19 infections mild and helping them get back on the court.
Of course, a discourse has broken out on Twitter. You can peep some of the reactions below.
Photo: Stacy Revere / Getty