The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the NBA (as well as the rest of our lives) in ways that will never be forgotten. After all, a year ago the Lakers won the NBA championship and a few months ago the Milwaukee Bucks did, but we're still only a few days into the new NBA season. The pandemic changed everyone's lives in both drastic and the smallest of ways. Just ask the Brooklyn Nets.
Kyrie Irving's decision to go unvaccinated is his decision. His reasons for refusing to take the vaccine in the face of losing a lot of money and respect from those around the game remain mostly conjecture. Speculating what his reasons truly are is a waste of time, and takes away from what is more important, which is that he is doing his teammates a disservice.
Magic Johnson knows a lot about being a good teammate. Johnson spoke with CBS news recently and had some definitive words about the COVID-19 vaccine.
"You have said to your teammates that you are going to be there for them, well you can't be there if you don't get vaccinated. You're letting them down and then that hurts our chances of winning a championship, I would never do that to my teammates. Never."
This is in reference of course to the fact that given Irvin's refusal to get vaccinated, he cannot play half of the games with the Brooklyn Nets.
The reason people are citing selfishness around Irving's decision isn't limited to basketball. His choice is absolutely a detriment to his team on the basketball court, but there are bigger things than basketball, and on Tuesday night, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley put that rather succinctly.
"You don't get the vaccine for yourself, you get it for other people. I got vaccinated, I can't wait to get the booster. You get vaccinated for your family first, you get vaccinated for your teammates second."
Barkley is absolutely spot on. It's NBA pundits' job to talk about the NBA, and that's fine, but we have to discuss the vaccine on a human level. If we are to protect those around us, the discussion has to start there.
If you continue to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit here.