As the Nets prepared to take the floor against the Bucks on the NBA's opening night without Kyrie Irving, league commissioner Adam Silver had a simple message for Brooklyn's star point guard: get vaccinated.
Speaking to the NBA on TNT crew ahead of tip-off, Silver expressed disappointment that Irving was not with the team, and was clear in his message that he believes Irving should get the COVID-19 vaccine and rejoin his team.
"I understand that it’s not just Kyrie, there are people in this country who disagree with the notion of getting vaccinated," Silver said. "But, at least from everything that I understand, science is firmly on the side of getting vaccinated, and this is, in essence, a miracle vaccine.”
Silver was not alone in calling for Irving to get vaccinated, as Hall of Famer Charles Barkley also spoke about the issue on TNT's pregame show. Barkley urged Irving to think about the people around him who could be impacted by his decision to not get the vaccine, while applauding the Nets for refusing to let Irving join the team as a part-time player.
“First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people...I think everybody should get vaccinated," Barkley said. "I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down and saying we’re not going to deal with this half on, half off. The only thing that bugs me is he’s still going to make $17 million sitting at home."
Silver continued his endorsement of the vaccine and tried to appeal to Irving on a level beyond how his decision has impacted his basketball career, advocating for vaccination as playing an integral role of a functioning society.
“It’s already saved tens of millions of lives. I think, at some point, for Kyrie to be an engaged member of society—putting aside this league—he needs to get vaccinated," Silver said. "That’s the law in New York: if you want to play in an arena, if you want to visit an arena, if you want to participate in an activity in an arena, you need to be vaccinated, and that’s where he finds himself.”
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