Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has become well-known for doings things his own way, but his latest controversy has crossed the line. The 29-year-old is reportedly unvaccinated against COVID-19, which puts him in jeopardy of missing significant time this upcoming NBA season.
Due to a city-wide mandate, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets players will not be allowed to play in home games this upcoming year unless they are vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Because of Irving’s reported status, he could miss up to 41 games, without pay, and severely hurt his team’s chances at being successful.
Being unvaccinated seems to be just the latest controversy that the 29-year-old point guard has found himself embroiled in and Shaquille O’Neal has seen enough. He blasted Irving in a recent interview and suggest that the Nets should get rid of him to avoid any further drama.
“I would go upstairs and say ‘get (Kyrie) up out of here. Get him up outta here’…” O’Neal said when asked what he would say if he was Irving’s teammate on Tiki and Tierney Wednesday. “Whoever owns the Brooklyn Nets, get his ass up outta here.”
"I would go upstairs and say 'get (Kyrie) up out of here. Get him outta here'… Whoever owns the Nets, get his ass up outta here"@SHAQ says #nets have to trade #kyrie if he doesn't get vaccinatedhttps://t.co/aYyuIQ35js pic.twitter.com/MHV4LtFdCs
— TikiAndTierney (@TikiAndTierney) September 29, 2021
O’Neal isn’t the first person to say that the Nets should move on from Irving if he refuses to get vaccinated. Stephen A. Smith also recently criticized the point guard and suggested that Brooklyn should trade him if he does not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is taking a more diplomatic approach and pleaded with Irving to get vaccinated, so that the Nets could stay competitive and compete for a title this upcoming season.
“Obviously, the vast majority of NBA players are getting vaccinated. We want all players vaccinated. I’m a Brooklynite, I’m a Nets fan,” de Blasio said during his daily press briefing, according to the New York Post.
“I really want to see Kyrie get vaccinated, I want to see the whole team stay healthy and safe this whole season. We have a chance to win the championship for Brooklyn. It’s staring us in the face, let’s go get it. It’s an amazing, amazing team. I want everyone [to be] safe and healthy. It’ll be a great moment for Brooklyn when they win that championship.”
Because of his status as a public figure and his widespread influence, Irving’s decision to not get a COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be discussed leading up to the start of the 2021-22 NBA season. His choice has widespread ramifications, not only for the Nets title hopes, but also for the health and safety of those around him.