Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving didn’t show up to media day because he is unvaccinated, and team owner Joe Tsai hopes the star point guard changes his mind.
“So Kyrie talks about it as a sort of personal choice issue, which I respect. But we all need to not forget that our goal,” Tsai told The New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “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 the same direction.
“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.”
Irving not being vaccinated could have a huge impact on the Nets this season as New York’s health and safety protocols don’t allow unvaccinated players to participate in home games.
Brooklyn has high expectations this season, too, with a fully healthy lineup of Irving, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Blake Griffin. Missing Irving for 41 regular-season games and possibly half of the playoffs would certainly hurt the Nets’ chances of winning a title.
It’s unclear if Irving has any plans to get vaccinated. The 29-year-old is reportedly “liking” online posts about the COVID-19 vaccine containing microchips.
Although players are not required to be vaccinated, the NBA’s vaccination rate has risen to 95% over the past week, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.