NBA star Kyrie Irving says refusal to get COVID vaccine is “what’s best for me”


Kyrie Irving mentioned Wednesday he did not need to lose wage or an opportunity to compete for a championship with the Brooklyn Nets, however was doing “what’s best for me” by refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Nets determined Tuesday that Irving would not be with the staff as a result of he is not eligible to play in residence video games, the place a New York mandate requires skilled athletes on one of many metropolis’s groups to be vaccinated to follow or play in public venues.

Speaking on Instagram Live, Irving mentioned he cherished basketball and wasn’t going to retire.

“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is,” Irving mentioned. “That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”

Irving would have been in a position to follow with the Nets and play in street video games exterior New York. The Nets can pay him for these however he is giving up about half of his $35 million wage by lacking the house video games.

“So what? It’s not about the money,” Irving mentioned. “It’s not always about the money. It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money?”

Kyrie Irving in June 2021.

Steven Ryan / Getty Images

Irving mentioned he supported individuals who had been and weren’t vaccinated and expressed appreciation for docs. As of Tuesday, 96% of NBA gamers have been vaccinated, a league supply informed CBS News. 

The All-Star guard did not give any indication that he was towards being vaccinated, simply that he was deciding not to.

“Once again, I’m going to repeat this. This is not about the Nets, this is not about the organization, it’s not about the NBA, it’s not politics,” Irving mentioned. “It’s not any one thing.

“It’s simply concerning the freedom of what I would like to do.”

Irving hasn’t spoken to reporters since the Nets’ media day on Sept. 27, when he appeared via Zoom and asked for privacy when questioned about his vaccination status.

The Nets are championship contenders and Irving said he didn’t want to miss the opportunity he has with them. General manager Sean Marks said the team would gladly welcome Irving back under the right circumstances, and Irving made clear he was going to play again.

“No, I’m not retiring and no I’m not going and leaving this sport like this,” Irving said. “There’s nonetheless a lot extra work to do and there nonetheless so many different (kids) to encourage, as a result of I do know they need to be higher than me.”

On Tuesday, Nets General Manager Sean Marks said “Kyrie has made a personal selection” to not be vaccinated.

“We respect his individual right to choose,” Marks mentioned in a press release. “Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”

Download our Free App

For Breaking News & Analysis Download the Free CBS News app