Kyrie Irving says decision not to get vaccinated was personal, not political

Kyrie Irving says decision not to get vaccinated was personal, not political
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NBA star Kyrie Irving said he does not intend to retire and that his decision not to get vaccinated was not political, but a "personal choice."

Although the NBA does not have a vaccine mandate, the Brooklyn Nets informed Irving, 29, that he will be unable to play in games or practice with the team until he complies with New York City's vaccine mandate, according to a report.

"I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate or what's happening in our world," Irving said on an Instagram livestream. "I love this game — like, love the game. But sometimes, you really gotta make choices that ultimately can affect that. And it's unfortunate, but that's where we're in 2021. I am bona fide hooper."


The NBA champion said he was taken aback by the protocol, according to the report.

"What would you do if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you would have exemptions or that you didn't have to be forced to get the vaccine? This wasn't an issue before the season started," Irving said. "This wasn't something I foresaw coming or I prepared for it or I had a chance to strategize on what was best for me and my family. I came into the season thinking I was just going to be able to play ball. Why are you putting it on me?"

Irving is the sole Nets player to remain noncompliant with the team's vaccine policy, but he said he is not anti-vaccine.

"I chose to be unvaccinated," Irving said. "That was my choice. And I would ask y'all just to respect that choice. I'm going to just continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates, and just be part of this whole thing, you know? This is not a political thing here."

Irving said he feels like he is "utilized as an example" by others over his decision and is willing to take any criticism.

"I am not an advocate for either side. I am doing what's best for me," he said. "I know the consequences here, you know, and if it means that I'm judged and demonized for that, that's what it is."

The league will fine players who are unable to play due to issues with vaccine mandates, according to a September announcement.

The money appears not to sway Irving, who reportedly risks losing about $16 million of his $34.9 million annual salary.


"It's not about the money, baby," Irving said. "It's not always about the money. 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?"

The Washington Examiner reached out to the National Basketball Players Association but did not immediately receive a response.

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Tags: News, NBA, New York City, Coronavirus, Vaccination

Original Author: Luke Gentile

Original Location: Kyrie Irving says decision not to get vaccinated was personal, not political

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