Kyrie Irving Won’t Change Mind About Refusal to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

The Nets need Irving to play as much as possible with Kevin Durant now out four-to-six weeks due to a sprained MCL

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets during a game against the Chicago Bulls. Irving won't change his mind about getting a Covid-19 vaccine, even with teammate Kevin Durant out several weeks.
Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets during a game against the Chicago Bulls.
Stacy Revere/Getty

Even though he is back playing for the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving is still refusing to be a team player and is adamant that he won’t be reversing his stance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine even though his star teammate Kevin Durant will now be out four-to-six weeks due to a sprained MCL.

Irving, who cannot suit up at home games in Brooklyn due to health and safety regulations in New York City and is only playing road games because of his status as an unvaccinated player, is still refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine and said that his mind on the matter has been made up. “That’s my decision already, and I’m standing on it,” Irving said.

When pressed by reporters, the seven-time All-Star point guard elaborated on his reasons for not getting the jab.

“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,” he said. “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 is this NBA life that somehow it’s brought to my attention to being more important than what’s going on in the real world. It’s just not happening for me.”

Originally the Nets they would not accommodate Irving as a part-time member of the roster, but reversed course last month after a COVID-19 outbreak decimated the team. The Nets have gone 2-2 this season with Irving in the lineup.

“Understand that people are going to agree and disagree,” the 29-year-old added. “The circumstances that are at hand, I’m praying they get changed and we’re able to do things differently and that’s not just for me — that’s for all that are dealing with being unvaccinated and being fired from work on a day to day basis. It’s not just about me. That’s been my message the whole time.”

Since James Harden was traded to the Nets by the Houston Rockets early last season, he has only been on the floor with Durant and Irving together in just 16 of Brooklyn’s 113 games (14%). That percentage will drop even lower with Durant out due to the sprained MCL.

With Durant out of the lineup last season, the Nets won 16 of 19 games when they had Irving and Harden together, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Fortunately for Brooklyn, the Nets play 11 of their next 14 games on the road and expect to have an IrvingHarden backcourt together for those games.

Brooklyn (27-15) is a half-game behind the Chicago Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference.

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