Kyrie Irving on not getting the vaccine: “I knew the consequences”


In October, Nets star Kyrie Irving said he was promised an exemption from the New York City vaccination mandate (although he never clarified who told him that). But that exemption never came, keeping Irving from the Brooklyn home games.

Then Irving hoped to play road games. Instead, the Nets chose to seat him entirely.

The organization recently reversed course on road games. Cleared to return, Irving joined the team today.

Irving, via Associated Press:

“I knew the consequences,” Irving said of his vaccination decision. “I was not prepared for them by any stretch of the imagination before the season. I thought about the possibility of being a full time teammate, going out, having fun, and coming up with a great brand of basketball. But unfortunately, it didn’t turn out like that. Things happen for a reason and now we are here and I am grateful for it.

“I’m not going to lie,” Irving said. “It was relatively difficult to watch from the sideline. … But if I have the opportunity to come on the pitch and play with some of my teammates, even if it’s only on the road for away games, I’m grateful for the opportunity.

“When the team approached me, we had a great conversation,” said Irving. “They said, ‘We want you to come back,’ and I said, ‘Absolutely. It’s always where I wanted to be. I wanted to play with the team as far as I can.

“Being in this environment and playing with the best of the best is my place,” said Irving. “This is where I have worked my whole life to be. So it was like riding a bike or just being on your first day of school again, just going back there. And I missed it.

The Nets haven’t made a commitment to use Irving as a part-time player for the rest of the season. They said they were allowing him to come back because the chemistry has been elusive amid so much upheaval, anyway. If player availability stabilizes – more likely with new NBA protocols and increased natural immunity – Brooklyn could send Irving home again.

From the start, Irving seemed ready to get the shot. If the Nets reissue their all-in-one edict, Irving enjoying his return with the team could push him to get the shot – and play on the road and home games.

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