Dieter Kurtenbach: Nemanja Bjelica to Andrew Wiggins in the hallway: “Get the shot.” Wiggins: Tough crowd in there, man.
Monte Poole: 'I know. And it's my problem, not yours.' Warriors F Andrew Wiggins, reminded that being unvaccinated could cost him millions in salary.
Quinton Mayo: Yes I had it, and I can get it again. There is still a possibility vaccinated or not. - Bradley Beal
Quinton Mayo: I don't think it will be. We're going to play basketball and do that at the highest level. We have protocols and things in place to make sure we're taken care of and tested regularly. - Bradley Beal on his vaccination status being a distraction
Ben Rohrbach: Bradley Beal on his bout with COVID-19, which cost him the Olympics: "I didn’t get sick at all. I lost my smell. That’s it.” Beal adds that no one will talk about adverse reactions to the vaccine and how it impacts player health. No NBA player has missed time due to the vaccine.
Quinton Mayo: Certain things in health should be personal. Especially us as athletes and the platform we have. I believe certain things should always be kept in house. - Kyle Kuzma on reasons why he doesn't want to share his vaccination status
Quinton Mayo: At the end of the day nobody really knows how things are going to go. America doesn't know. - Kyle Kuzma on vaccination and how it impacts the NBA
Connor Letourneau: Steve Kerr on potentially missing a player for a stretch due to his vaccination status: "We'll just see how everything plays out. We're hopeful that it all is resolved over the next couple of weeks. We're going into camp tomorrow with a plan to have everyone on the floor."
Chris Herrington: Ja Morant shares that he is vaccinated. (As did Desmond Bane earlier.) "I got vaccinated early. ... I have a baby girl. I travel a lot. I can't bring COVID back to her."
Duvalier Johnson: JaMychal Green on vaccination status:”Everybody is grown, it’s they own decision.” He went on to say he is fully vaccinated and he hopes that everyone jumps on board. pic.twitter.com/2yLEusYUQa
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie Irving joins Nets media day remotely. On if he expects to be compliant with vaccination to play: “I would love to keep that private and handle that the right way with my team. Obviously I’m not able to be present there today.” He adds he’s not putting limits for future. pic.twitter.com/00fYCtBcNR
Jeff Zillgitt: Reporter tries to get more info from Kyrie Irving on vaccine/possibly not being available for home games per New York City ordinance: "Please respect my privacy. Next question."
Jeff Zillgitt: Kyrie Irving gets another question about being available at Nets home games: "Everything will be released at a due date once we get this cleared up." Continued to ask for privacy on the vaccine/availability topic.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie Irving said he doesn't want to be a distraction to the Nets' pursuit of a title. "This is the last thing I wanted to create, more distractions."
Gina Mizell: Doc declines to share exactly how many Sixers players are vaccinated, but emphasizes "It's not a concern for us. We are very, very, very good."
Malika Andrews: Blake Griffin, who has done PSAs encouraging COVID-19 vaccines, tells ESPN he did his own research early on and felt comfortable getting vaccinated. He said it’s an individual decision, but added he believes it’s an integral part of moving forward. Science agrees.
Anthony Slater: The expectation is that Andrew Wiggins will attend Media Day, practice in training camp and appear in the Warriors’ first four preseason games, even while the vaccine situation gets sorted out. SF’s rule doesn’t enact until Oct. 13. theathletic.com/2845066/2021/0…
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: If individual athletes can’t muster the courage to do the right thing, then the NBA and every other league governing body must step in and mandate vaccinations for players, coaches, and staff in order to protect the team, the fans, and the community. Players are free to choose not to get vaccinated, but they should have the courage of their moral convictions to sit out the season, sustained in the righteousness of their choice. They’ve already proven they are not team players.
Adam Zagoria: James Harden on Kyrie not being here: "I’ll let you guys listen to what he has to say about that. Obviously Ky is a huge part of what we’re trying to do."
Kristian Winfield: Kevin Durant says he’s not concerned about Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status. “We trust in Kyrie and I expect us to have our whole team at some point.”
Ben Rohrbach: Kevin Durant on Kyrie Irving’s availability: "I expect it not to be [an issue]. That's on Kyrie and that's his personal decision. … We trust in Kyrie. I expect us to have our whole team at some point."
Ian Begley: Kyrie Irving will not be at Media Day in Brooklyn today, sources confirm. NYC mandate states that all Knicks/Nets need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to practice/play home games in NYC. Nets training camp is in San Diego. Irving may talk to media via Zoom. ESPN first reported.
Brian Lewis: According to NY rules, Kyrie Irving can’t play or practice at home until he gets a vaccination shot. Kevin Durant: “We trust in Kyrie and I expect us to have our whole team at some point.” #Nets #NBA
Nets Daily: Kevin Durant mood changes noticeably when discussing LaMarcus Aldridge after talking about Kyrie Irving. Upbeat vs guarded.
Shams Charania: Nets’ Kyrie Irving will not be at Media Day today in Brooklyn due to health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Zach Lowe: Kyrie Irving is not expected to attend Nets media day today due to New York City health and safety protocols but the Nets fully expect Irving to accompany the team to training camp in San Diego, sources tell @WindhorstESPN and I.
Ira Winderman: Just arrived to FTX Arena for Heat media day. Have been told privately that Heat "do not expect any issues" regarding vaccination status of players. Told it is covered and "taken care of." NBA has severe, strict protocols for players not vaccinated.
Kellan olson: Devin Booker on his Twitch stream (http://twitch.tv/dbook ) confirms he has COVID-19. Said it has been about a week and he'll be back in no time. He said he's straight right now and the worst part is no taste and smell. He did not want to say if he has been vaccinated or not.
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” Kyrie’s aunt, Tyki Irving, told Rolling Stone. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you. There can be some sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.” Tyki Irving runs the seven-time All-Star’s family foundation and is one of the few people in his regular circle of advisors. A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to Rolling Stone’s questions regarding his vaccination and playing status. Irving also did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone.
Jonathan Isaac: Misrepresentation only allows for others to attack straw men, and not reason with the true ideas and heart of their fellow man. It helps no one! True journalism is dying! I believe it is your God given right to decide if taking the vaccine is right for you! Period! More to follow
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
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.
When asked directly about Irving’s vaccination status — or his plans to change it — multiple people familiar with his thinking declined to answer directly. But one confidant and family member floated to Rolling Stone the idea of anti-vaxx players skipping home games to dodge the New York City ordinance… or at least threatening to protest them, until the NBA changes its ways.
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” says Kyrie’s aunt, Tyki Irving, who runs the seven-time All-Star’s family foundation and is one of the few people in his regular circle of advisors. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you. There can be some sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.”
A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to a list of questions regarding his vaccination and playing status, and Irving did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone. But as teams return to pre-season training camps next week, fifty to sixty NBA players have yet to receive a single vaccine dose, league sources tell RS. Most are considered merely reluctant skeptics. Some of the holdouts, however, amount to their own shadow roster of anti-vaxxers mounting a behind-the-scenes resistance to Covid protocols — and the truth.
Isaac considers un-vaxxed players to be vilified and bullied, and he thinks “it’s an injustice” to automatically make heroes out of vaccinated celebrities. He rejects the NBA’s proposal for a vaccine mandate and social distancing for players like him during team travel: “You can play on the same court. We can touch the same ball. We can bump chests. We can do all those things on the court. And then when it comes to being on the bus, we have to be in different parts of the bus? To me, it doesn’t seem logically consistent. “If you are vaccinated, in other places you still have to wear the mask regardless. It’s like, ‘OK, then what is the mask necessarily for?’” Isaac continues. “And if Kyrie says that from his position of his executive power in the NBPA, then kudos to him.”
Enes Kanter — the veteran center, devout Muslim and outspoken liberal — senses a creep of the religious right upon his workplace, which just happens to involve players like Isaac sweating all over him and yelling in his face: “If a guy’s not getting vaccinated because of his religion, I feel like we are in a time where the religion and science has to go to together,” he tells RS. “I’ve talked to a lot of religious guys — I’m like: ‘It saves people’s lives, so what is more important than that?’”
Confusion and concern has been rampant this week among the Warriors’ organization as disparate situations played out with Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga, who were both thought to have refused the vaccination against coronavirus with less than a handful of days before training camp opens. Just as San Francisco clarified its rules Friday, it became increasingly clear that Wiggins is still unvaccinated and won’t be allowed into Chase Center for games, while Kuminga is at the very least in the process of being vaccinated.
The Chronicle learned this week that the team is also concerned about the vaccination status of Kuminga. Earlier this week, a league source said that Kuminga, the seventh pick in this year’s NBA draft, was not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, in a text thread with The Chronicle, Kuminga indicated he was at least on his way to becoming vaccinated. He first said he wanted to check to see if he needed to get another shot before the start of the season, then said a second shot would come Oct. 22. Finally, the rookie forward said: “I’m vaccinated, man.”
Sean Cunningham: Andrew Wiggins request for religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination denied by the NBA. League statement below. pic.twitter.com/kXFGXiS8hy
A number of its players had declined to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots. The team was worried that an outbreak could derail its postseason hopes. Team executives began setting up meetings aimed at swaying the unvaccinated players. They provided data outlining the scientific benefits to them as individuals and to their families as well as information regarding the safety of the vaccine. That didn’t work.
Next, the team tried dangling the NBA’s updated and more relaxed COVID protocols, which made life easier for vaccinated players. They faced fewer tests, had fewer restrictions and, crucially, were not required to quarantine after an exposure to the virus. The unvaccinated players still didn’t budge. Finally, the team tried appealing to the players’ self-interests. There was money to be made in the postseason, it told the players, whether via playoff bonuses, contract incentives, or by flourishing under the spotlight and burnishing their respective reputations.
That pitch didn’t work, either. The team finished the season with less than 70% of its players vaccinated. "We tried everything," a staff member from that team told FOX Sports. "None of it mattered."
Now, with the 2021-22 regular season just a month away and players returning to their local markets for training camp next week, a number of NBA organizations find themselves confronting similar challenges, only with more urgency. The combination of new league protocols and more stringent local regulations could create an environment in which vaccine hesitancy becomes an issue that impacts on-court results. In other words, the final standings this season could very well be impacted by the vaccination status of players.
The NBA, according to a league spokesman, believes that around 85% of its players are currently vaccinated; National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts put the number at 90% during a July interview with Yahoo Sports. Those numbers are about 10-to-15% more than the overall rate of American adults who are vaccinated. But that still means that somewhere between 50 and 70 NBA players remain unvaccinated, an average of more than two per squad. Depending on how those players are grouped, what city they play in, and how good they are, it’s clear that any team entering the season with low vaccination rates will be at a competitive disadvantage.
One player who could be affected is Nets guard Kyrie Irving. According to multiple league sources, Irving has yet to receive a vaccine shot. Both the Nets and a spokeswoman for Irving declined to comment on the record about Irving’s vaccination status, but Nets general manager Sean Marks was asked during a news conference on Tuesday whether New York City’s mandate could sideline any of his team’s players.
Chris Kirschner: The Hawks will be 100 percent vaccinated by the start of the season. One player is receiving his second shot next week.
Two days after Sean Marks told the media he’s “confident” that his team will meet league and city standards on COVID vaccinations by Opening Night, Yaron Weitzman of FOX Sports reports that Irving “has yet to receive a vaccine shot,” citing “multiple league sources,” not further identified. Specifically, here’s what Weitzman reported Thursday afternoon, as part of a larger piece on the status of the NBA’s vaccination policies days before the opening of training camp... According to multiple league sources, Irving has yet to receive a vaccine shot. Both the Nets and a spokeswoman for Irving declined to comment on the record
James said his vaccination status was a “family” conversation and “private thing” when he was asked about it in May. Earlier in the month, former Laker point guard Dennis Schröder told a German-language publication that he and James were the only Lakers players who hadn’t received the vaccine, before later telling reporters he was the only Laker not vaccinated. Dwight Howard previously questioned the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines during an Instagram Live in July 2020. Kent Bazemore also told reporters that he wasn’t planning on getting the vaccine. Back in March, when he was with the Warriors, he said he considered the decision a “lifestyle thing.” Pelinka did not name which players have yet to be vaccinated.
It's probably not an overstatement at all to say the Washington Wizards have been affected more by the coronavirus than any other NBA team. They were the first team to experience a major outbreak last season with six of their games postponed in January. Then, star guard Bradley Beal had to exit Team USA just days before the Olympics because of a positive test. And then, during the Las Vegas Summer League, their roster was once again deeply affected by an outbreak, notably preventing point guard Cassius Winston from appearing in a game.
So, while it's a pertinent question for any professional sports team these days, the Wizards' vaccination rate arguably carries more importance as they prepare to enter a new season. Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard addressed the media on Thursday ahead of the team's training camp opening next week and was asked a series of questions about the team's vaccination efforts. He stopped short of specifics to protect players' privacy. "Everything is great. We have our roster, everybody is fully-educated and fully-informed. We will be in compliance and we're looking forward to the season," Sheppard said. "A lot of that stuff, you're getting into some personal and private information. We're not going to go down that road. But we'll be in great compliance with the NBA and moving forward."
Bill Oram: Rob Pelinka just said on Zoom the Lakers will be a "fully vaccinated" team by opening night. Pelinka said he is "grateful we won't have interruptions by unvaccinated status of a player or a staff member."
August 11, 2022 | 1:05 pm EDT Update
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is in awe of the fact that Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is still performing at an incredibly high level. James reportedly spends 1.5 million dollars per year to ensure that his body is in tip-top shape, which is something that Giannis made reference to. “It’s interesting to me how LeBron is still one of the best shapes in his life and being the best player in the world and still being in year 18,” Antetokounmpo said. “Like, that’s really interesting. I want to know how he does that. “He’s been consistent for 18 years. He’s always there. He’s always showing up. That’s unbelievable. “He obviously gets credit, but I think we’ve got to give him more credit. Doing it for 18 years guys, that’s hard.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Watching the first two episodes of Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers brought back a lot of wonderful and emotional memories. The effortless camaraderie, the elite athleticism, and the dominating play was exciting to watch. But I was surprised that it also gave me some fresh insights into that time that even I hadn’t thought about before. While enjoying watching one of the best teams in the history of the NBA find their mojo as a team together, I also realized that Dr. Jerry Buss and I were on parallel journeys at the same time.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: In 1979, when Dr. Buss bought the Lakers, I’d been playing for the team for four years. I’d come from the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles had a lot of expectations for me. As a Buck, I set NBA records and helped them win their first NBA championship by sweeping the Baltimore Bullets 4-0. The Lakers expected me to bring them championships, too. Believe me, I felt that weight every single day. I tried hard those first years to live up to what LA expected: My 1,111 defensive rebounds my first season as a Laker remains an NBA single-season record. I received my fourth MVP award that same season, the first in Lakers franchise history. Despite me playing some of the best basketball in my career, the team didn’t win the championships all of LA was hoping for. I felt like I’d let the LA fans down.
August 11, 2022 | 11:23 am EDT Update
On June 30, Kevin Durant formally asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him. On July 1, league sources say Durant was owed and received an eight-figure check from the Nets — one of two massive advance payments that the disgruntled superstar is scheduled to collect from Brooklyn by Oct. 1 while he’s also in the midst of lobbying the team to move him. If it wasn’t sufficiently audacious that Durant is demanding a trade before playing a single game under the four-year, $194 million contract extension he signed in August 2021, there’s even more to consider.
Dario Saric, 28, was forced to sit out the entire 2021-22 NBA season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals. But he is cleared for action and set up for the Chequered Ones. “I missed the national team, it is always an honor and pride to play for Croatia,” he explained to gathered reporters during a break from practice, “The feeling of being back is fantastic. After the end of the NBA season, I trained there until mid-July. I was preparing to be as fit as possible. I feel good. It’s nice to be with these players.”