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Kyrie Irving’s unvaccinated status was one of the NBA’s preseason talks.
The ramifications and impact of his decision, not only for his career, but for Nets’ 2021-22 season included an entertaining preseason.
After being on a tightrope in all media interactions since the start of training camp regarding their stance on the matter, the Nets finally took a stand, announcing that Irving would not play or practice with the team until he fully eligible to do so.
Meanwhile, Irving has remained silent except for a brief Zoom interview with reporters on Media Day. Wednesday night, the All-Star point guard broke that silence by going live to Instagram.
“This is about my life and what I choose to do,” Irving said, referring to his decision not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The financial ramifications, I know I don’t even want to do that,” Irving said. “But the reality is that to be in New York City, to be on a team, I need to be vaccinated. I chose not to be vaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would like to ask all of you to just respect that choice.
Kyrie Irving expresses his stance on not getting the vaccine on IG Live: “It’s about choosing what’s best for you. Do you think I really want to lose money? Do you think I really want to give up my dream of chasing a championship? Do you think I really just want to quit my job?’ pic.twitter.com/cYHCWGbnCo
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 14, 2021
It was due to a New York City vaccination mandate that Irving was not allowed 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 gives a voice to the voiceless who have lost their jobs because of vaccine mandates, has nothing to do with the Nets organization or its teammates, he clarifies.
“This is my life,” Irving said. “I can do whatever I want with this, this is a body I’m getting here. And you tell me what to do with my body. This has everything to do with what’s going on in our world. And I’m getting grouped into something bigger than just the game of basketball.”
In addition, his attitude and nature led to reports and conversations about the point guard leaving the game to retire. However, he quickly put that discussion back on track on the social media platform.
“Nobody cuts this voice,” Irving said.
“See if they play this on their TV channels and if they play this real truth somewhere before you start talking about me and what I’m doing with my life. And no, I’m not retiring. And no, I’m not leaving this game like this. There is still so much more work to be done.”
Since Media Day, Irving has attended their training camp in San Diego alone with the team, followed by an outdoor practice a week later. No training and no competitions.
His live session on Instagram, while clarifying some aspects of retirements and schedules, still leaves a lot of things in limbo. Will he play or will he be unavailable all season due to his unvaccinated status?
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