Lakers Legend Lambastes Kyrie Irving for His Approach to Vaccine

Kyrie Irving

Getty Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets.

Even though he didn’t attend in person and even though the Nets had a hundred other captivating storylines surrounding them during media day earlier this week, Kyrie Irving still managed to steal the show.

Irving opted not to speak about his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine, saying: “Honestly, I like to keep that stuff private.”

Irving’s teammates have had only encouraging reactions to that sentiment from him – at least publicly – but outside the Nets locker room, Irving has been criticized harshly for the his stance.

Count Shaquille O’Neal among those who have publicly lambasted Irving.

“I try not to belittle another man’s opinion,” Shaq said on “The Big Podcast with Shaq.” “However, let me tell you what I think. In this game of ours, sometimes you have to think about other people rather than yourself. Now, Kyrie has his views. He has his opinions. I’m not going to knock that, but he does have an obligation, because he took that 200 million.

“Only thing I don’t like is, ‘Oh, can you, you know, respect my privacy?’ Once you sign up for this life, there is no privacy, and you have to accept it.

“But if you’re on my team and you can’t play home games, I don’t want you around. Like, we have a chance to win and if you ain’t on the program, go somewhere else, period. Hey, whatever your reasons are, cool, I’m with that, but we ain’t gonna be going back and forth for 41 games whether you gonna play or not. Get your *ss up outta here.”

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Shaq Doubles Down

Shaq, the Lakers legend, former 15-time All-Star and Hall of Famer, shared a similar line of thinking when he appeared on “Tiki and Tierney” on Wednesday.

His language was a bit more colorful this time.

“I would go upstairs and say, ‘Get him up outta here. Get him up outta here,'” Shaq said. “We can win with a one-two punch, a great shooter, and some rebounders like we have. Cause now every day, we have to answer questions about him and what he’s doing. Get his *ss up outta here. … Whoever owns the Brooklyn Nets, get him outta here”

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Nets Owner Weighs In

For his part, Nets owner Joe Tsai said he hopes to see Irving play a full season that culminates with Brooklyn’s Big Three – including Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden – leading the team to a championship.

“Whats our purpose this year? Its very very clear win a championship,” Tsai said recently, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post, “and a championship team needs to have everybody pulling the same direction. So I hope to see Kyrie play fully and win a championship together with everybody else with all his teammates.”

Last season, the 29-year-old Irving averaged 26.9 points on better than 50 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent shooting from 3-point range and 90 percent shooting from the free throw line, becoming just the ninth player in NBA history to shoot with such efficiency in a season.

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