4-Time NBA Champion Issues Strong Statements About Kyrie Irving’s Vaccine Stance

Kyrie Irving

Getty Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving is going to be featured in many of the upcoming offseason discussions. The Brooklyn Nets point guard has the opportunity to use his player option and opt out of the final year of his contract in Brooklyn to test free agency or negotiate a long-term deal. The trade machine has been active with people finding possible trades the All-Star point guard could be dealt to. Some moves have them linked with the Los Angeles Clippers in a trade and another with the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook. It is hard to predict at this time. Other reports have already surfaced that the Nets will be “unwilling” to sign Irving to a long-term extension because of his decision around the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Kyrie Extension Status in Brooklyn

Part of what makes the Nets unwilling to sign Irving to a long-term extension was his decision to not get vaccinated despite COVID-19 vaccine mandates in New York City. The mandate would mean that the Nets starting point guard would be forced to sit out of all NBA games in the state of New York. Irving still chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine and cited being a “voice for the voiceless” as his reasoning. The decision certainly affected the Nets seeding ahead of the playoffs, and after a disappointing first-round matchup, the Nets’ general manager Sean Marks had some pointed remarks directed at Kyrie and the team’s future plans. 

“I think we know what we’re looking for. We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here,” Marks said to reporters on May 11 per Kristian Winfield of the “New York Daily News.”

While some people are saying that Irving’s decision to not get vaccinated hurt his chance at a long-term extension in Brooklyn, one former 4-time NBA Champion added his comments on the Kyrie situation in Brooklyn. 

John Salley on Kyrie Irving

On May 28, TMZ spoke to John Salley in New York City about his thoughts on Kyrie. 

“I think Kyrie Irving is the premier athlete — professional,” Salley said. “I think he’s conscious. I think he thinks it through. I think it’s very important that people pay attention too, he’s not into the lies, the glitz. He’s into taking care of his body.” Salley told TMZ.

Irving has been criticized for a lot of his decisions around the vaccine, including publicly by Howard Stern and Chris Rock. However, Salley praised Irving, stating that he does his own research and because it differs from the mainstream opinion, people don’t like it. 

“You have a guy who didn’t get the virus, and everybody who talked about smack about him got it really bad,” Salley said. “He had a very strong immune system.”

Salley says the Nets did the right thing in their handling of Kyrie Irving last season. However, their decisions are not final. The Nets still have to figure out what they do about his imminent free agent contract. One that, from the words of reports and even general manager Sean Marks may be in jeopardy this postseason largely because of his decision to not get vaccinated and that having such a big impact on the Nets season. If Kyrie does leave Brooklyn, it is unclear how it affects teammate Kevin Durant’s status with the Nets. 

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