Kyrie Irving Leads NBA Media Day Biggest Question: Are You Vaccinated?

In Summary

The start of the 2021-2022 NBA season is on the horizon, but basketball took the sidelines as players vocalized why they are or are not vaccinated from the COVID-19 virus. 

The NBA has a 90% vaccination rate against the COVID-19 virus, but the 10% includes Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal and Andrew Wiggins, who became the vocalized minority in the routine NBA Media Day event.  

However, Irving was not physically present. Because of the New York City COVID-19 regulations, Irving participated via Zoom.  

Local governments in New York, San Francisco and Brooklyn said any unvaccinated person over the age of 12 wouldn’t be allowed to enter “certain covered premises” inside their respective cities. Covered premises would include the Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden and the Chase Center, home of the Nets, Knicks and Warriors, respectively.  

When Irving was asked about his vaccination status, he chose to decline for private reasons.  

“I would like to keep all that private,” Irving said. “Please just respect my privacy. Like, at all the questions kind of leading into what’s happening, you know, just, please, everything will be released at a new date, once we get this cleared up. But as of right now, just please respect my privacy regarding anything on home games, what’s happening, vaccinations. Please.”  

A report in a Rolling Stones article was one of the many irrefutable fuses ignited by Irving.  

Here is an excerpt from the article:  

Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.  

Irving isn’t alone in marching at the off-beat of his drum. Beal, the Washington Wizards guard, also gave his opposing opinion against vaccination.  

“I don’t think you can pressure anybody into doing things, or putting things in their body,” Beal said at Media Day. “I would ask the question to those who are getting vaccinated, ‘why are you still getting COVID?’ You can still get COVID and still pass it along if vaccinated.”  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an infection of a fully vaccinated person is referred to as a “vaccine breakthrough infection.”  

RelatedUS COVID-19 Deaths Surpass Deaths Caused by 1918 Spanish Flu  

In a study, An Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections and Associated Clinical Outcomes, researchers collected all available public health data from February 12, 2021, to July 29, 2021. A total of 6,399 new cases of COVID-19 were reported during this time, of which 6,128 (95.8%) were successfully traced back to their sources. Out of these 6,399 cases, the Health District identified 339 (5.5%) as breakthrough infections.  

However, NBA players offered sound reasons why they decided to receive a vaccination: Damian Lillard and Ja Morant of the Portland Trailblazers and Memphis Grizzlies, respectively, gave their voices.  

“For me, I’m vaccinated,” Morant said to reporters. “I know a lot of people who got sick and died. You know I have a baby girl. I travel a lot. Can’t bring COVID back to her.”  

Wiggins had his religious exemption from getting the COVID-19 vaccine denied. His teammate, two-time MVP and three-time NBA Champion Steph Curry, said it’s not ideal for Wiggins to possibly be missing every home game due to the local government protocol.  

RelatedNBA Denies COVID-19 Vaccine Religious Exemption for Andrew Wiggins  

But Wiggins could give Curry the same response he gave a reporter about losing money due to his unvaccinated status.  

“And it’s my problem. Not yours,” Wiggins said.  

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