- Kyrie Irving has returned to the Brooklyn Nets as a part-time player.
- Due to this unique situation, Irving has been facing tons of questions about his status.
- The 29-year-old point guard got into an exchange with a reporter after he was asked if he’d consider changing his mind.
Entering the 2021-22 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets were unwilling to allow point guard Kyrie Irving to participate as a part-time player. However, that stance eventually changed as the team’s roster was ravaged by injuries and virus-related absences, as they decided at the turn of the year that they would, in fact, allow the 29-year-old to play with the team in their road games.
Despite Kyrie’s return, the Nets are still facing injury issues, as Kevin Durant, their 33-year-old future Hall of Fame forward, is set to miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
Due to Durant’s extended absence, questions are being asked of Kyrie, specifically if he’ll reconsider his stance on getting the shot. That very question was posed to the former NBA Champion following the Nets 114-107 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Irving had 27 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds in the loss — which lead to an extended exchange between Kyrie and the reporter who asked the question.
In response to the question about changing his mind about his part-time-player status, Irving reiterated three times that he’s “rooted” in his decision.
“…But in terms of where I am with my life outside of [basketball], I stay rooted in my decision. That’s just what it is,” Kyrie said.
“It’s not going to be swayed by one thing in this NBA life that is somehow brought to my attention as being more important than what’s going on in the real world. It’s just not happening for me. Again, I respect everyone’s decision and I’m not going to try and convince anyone or anything like that, I’m just standing rooted in what I believe in. And though we’re dealing with this right now with Kev, I know I am protected by the organization, I’m protected by my teammates, all the doctors I talked to, I’m rooted.”
Irving also said that he’s not bringing “science into the basketball game,” which is an interesting comment considering that all professional sports teams employ doctors and trainers to keep players healthy. It would certainly be interesting to see if Kyrie was willing to receive scientific medical assistance if he broke his leg or tore his ACL, for example.
Here's Kyrie Irving's exchange with a reporter who followed up about his vaccination status: pic.twitter.com/dz9N5P5F7Q
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) January 17, 2022
Irving will be with the Nets through the rest of the week, as their next three games — against the Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs, and Minnesota Timberwolves — are on the road.
You can find a full transcription of Kyrie’s comments below:
“What I’m trying to better articulate is I’m not bringing science into the basketball game. Everyone’s feeling what’s going on in the real world. I’m walking around as an unvaccinated person, sort of saying I’ve already been separated into another group with the team. I’m just saying I’m human, I have decisions to make, a family to take care of, there are things that are just as important to me as being great at the game of basketball, or, you know, leaving a legacy…. What’s going on with me is I’m taking it one day at a time. That’s it. Nothing is guaranteed in this world right now. People are getting sick left and right. For me, I’m just trying to be a person who is just being a beacon of hope and light and just trying to shed as much as I can on the situation without talking myself into more BS and what is going on in this political world that we’re in right now. I just don’t want to bring science into this, and it always gets wrapped up, and I’m asked questions all the time about what’s my status. Man, if you were in my position, it would be easy for someone to say ‘why don’t you just get vaccinated?’ But you’re not. I made my decision already and I’m standing on it.”
“…But in terms of where I am with my life outside of [basketball], I stay rooted in my decision. That’s just what it is. It’s not going to be swayed by one thing in this NBA life that is somehow brought to my attention as being more important than what’s going on in the real world. It’s just not happening for me. Again, I respect everyone’s decision and I’m not going to try and convince anyone or anything like that, I’m just standing rooted in what I believe in. And though we’re dealing with this right now with Kev, I know I am protected by the organization, I’m protected by my teammates, all the doctors I talked to, I’m rooted.”
“You’re bringing my vaccination status into a basketball game, and I live the majority of my life away from this. So when I say I’m not getting vaccinated, I’m making a choice with my life. Somehow it gets, like Nick’s saying, ‘what about the basketball?’ No, bro. We live in a real world. This is great to be able to do this, I am grateful for the opportunity, I love playing with my teammates, I love playing on the Nets, but I’ve already been away enough times to think about the processes and be able to make this decision, stand strong, and understand people are going to agree, people are going to disagree. The circumstances at hand, I’m praying they change and we can do things differently, and that’s not just for me. That’s for all the unvaccinated people being fired from work. It’s not just about me, that’s been my message the whole time.”