Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the Brooklyn Nets until he becomes a full participant with the team under New York City’sguidelines, the team announced Tuesday. Irving, 29, will be required to receive at least one shot of the vaccine to become eligible.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks said in a statement.
“It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice. Our championship goals for the season have not changed, and to achieve these goals each member of our organization must pull in the same direction.”
New York City’s mandate requires residents to have at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor gyms, which includes the Nets’ home arena, the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn.
As of Tuesday, 96% of NBA players have been vaccinated, a league source told CBS News.
Last month, Irving spoke to reporters via Zoom for the league’s media day, saying he would like to keep his vaccination status private. “I think I just would love to just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with a plan,” he said. “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.”
The Nets open the regular season against the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks on October 19. The Bucks eliminated the Nets from the post-season and went on to defeat the Phoenix Suns in the finals.