3-Time NBA Champ Compares Nets Kyrie Irving to Clippers Star Kawhi Leonard

Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard

Getty Kyrie Irving faces off with Kawhi Leonard,

Kyrie Irving wasn’t present during Brooklyn Nets media day. Many have speculated the reasoning for that is because he hasn’t taken the mandated COVID-19 vaccination. Due to the New York City mandate, if Kyrie were to refuse the vaccination, he would be unable to play in home games at Barclays Center which would be a total of 41 games. He would also be unable to play in the Nets’ two games against the New York Knicks and their lone road game against the Golden State Warriors because of the vaccine mandate in San Francisco. As for his vaccination status, Kyrie has yet to confirm that. The All-Star says he prefers to keep that information private.

“Honestly, I’d like to keep that stuff private. I’m a human being first. Obviously living in this public sphere it’s just a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie. I think I just would love to just keep that private, handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with the plan,” Irving told reporters over Zoom per NetsDaily. “I’m not able to be present there today. But that doesn’t mean that I’m putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team.”

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Lakers’ Phil Handy Compares Kyrie Irving to Kawhi Leonard

Irving’s decision to keep his vaccination status confidential should come as no surprise. Three-time NBA champion Phil Handy was Kyrie’s assistant coach on the Cleveland Cavaliers when they completed a historic 3-1 deficit to win the NBA title in 2016. He says that Irving has always been private and likens his demeanor to Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard.

“Ky is one of those dudes that is very private. He’s very private and his circle is very small and he’s not a guy that really extends himself a lot to people that he doesn’t know. Kind of like Kawhi,” Handy told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports.

“Until you actually get to know Kyrie, you’re going to get a lot of speculation. He’s going to say some stuff and certain things, but people don’t understand maybe what’s the context behind it or where he’s coming from. So, I always say a lot of times athletes in general are just in the spotlight where you just hear sound bites or you might see this or hear this, but people don’t really know the kid. And so, until you actually get to know Kyrie, I tell people all the time that if you don’t know someone, you probably shouldn’t speak on him.”

 

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Nets’ Owner Sounds off on Kyrie Irving’s Status

With Irving slated to miss so many games without taking the vaccine the Nets’ chances of winning this year’s title look a lot slimmer. Nets’ owner Joe Tsai says he respects Kyrie’s personal choice in terms of the vaccine but doesn’t want him to lose sight of the Nets’ ultimate goal.

“So, Kyrie talks about it as a sort of personal choice issue, which I respect. But we all need to not forget our goal. What is our goal this year? What’s our purpose this year? It’s very, very clear: Win a championship. And the championship team needs to have everybody pulling in the same direction,” Tsai told reporters per NetsDaily.

“So, I hope to see Kyrie play fully and win a championship together with everybody else, with all his teammates. That’s the best outcome for everybody.”

Kyrie will play a major role in whether or not this Nets team wins a championship this year. With the preseason scheduled to start this weekend, time is ticking for the Nets star to make a decision on whether or not he’ll take the shot.

 READ NEXT: Kyrie Irving Weighs in on James Harden, Nets Pending Contract Talks


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