Cruz also applauded Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James for his comments Tuesday, when the superstar shared that he decided to get vaccinated after researching it, but didn’t intend to try to influence others to follow his lead. “I’ve never said this before: I agree with @KingJames,” Cruz said in the Twitter thread. “With his box-office power, he could be even more courageous—he could SOLVE the problem—by saying: “I stand w/ my fellow players. And I won’t play in any arena that bans another NBA player because they make a personal healthcare choice.”
Mayor de Blasio made a public plea Wednesday for Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving to get his COVID shots as the city continues its push for more New Yorkers to get vaccinated. “I’m a fan of Kyrie. I would just appeal to him – get vaccinated,” he said. “Your fans want to see you. We all want you back. Your teammates want you back. Look, there are teams now that are 100% vaccinated. That’s a great example to everybody else.”
When asked if Irving was letting fans down, de Blasio declined to go there. “It’s not time to say that yet. We have weeks and weeks before the season begins,” he said. “I think his fans are going to say to him, ‘C’mon, join us, help us, let’s keep everyone safe — keep your own family safe, keep your teammates safe, keep your community safe.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) said that he “stands” with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and other NBA players who have shared their hesitancy about the COVID-19 vaccine. “I stand with Kyrie Irving. I stand with Andrew Wiggins. I stand with Bradley Beal. I stand with Jonathan Isaac,” Cruz wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, along with the hashtag #YourBodyYourChoice.
Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. isn’t comfortable taking the vaccine for COVID-19 and is adamant there shouldn’t be a mandate for NBA players to take it. Porter, in an interview with The Denver Post, said his opinion is based on two separate bouts with COVID. “For me, I had COVID twice, I saw how my body reacted, and although the chances are slim, with the vaccine, there’s a chance you could have a bad reaction to it,” Porter said. “For me, I don’t feel comfortable”
Michael Porter Jr: “My stance on the mandate is it definitely shouldn’t be a mandate. It should be everyone’s decision. I see it both ways. If you want to get it because you feel more protected and you feel safer, and it’s protecting people around you, get it. That’s good for you. But if you feel like, ‘Oh, for me, I don’t feel safe getting it, then don’t get it.’”
Porter isn’t the only Nuggets player unvaccinated. He, along with any unvaccinated teammate, will be subject to onerous testing and other restrictions. The guidelines are outlined in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Tim MacMahon: Mavs reserve G Trey Burke confirms he is not vaccinated and says he’s “not trying to rush into a decision.” He says he wants to do more research. Asked what more research he feels he needs to do, Burke mentioned potential long-term effects. Mavs want 100% vaccination rate.
Mirjam Swanson: Ty Lue on COVID protocols: "Our guys are vaccinated, so we just try to abide by the rules... do what we do to play the game we love... "Our guys are fully vaccinated."
Ben Rohrbach: If the NBA applies the same standard to missed games for violation of local vaccine mandates as it does unpaid suspensions, Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins stand to lose almost $250K per game and nearly $15 million for the season.
According to the Census’ Household Survey, about 90 percent of adult Americans who earn $150,000 or more a year have been fully vaccinated. Given that every NBA player earns more than that, I think it’s safe to say that a 90 percent vaccination rate is the least we should expect. In other words, telling fans not to lose sight of the fact that 90 percent of the league is vaccinated is like when I tell my upset girlfriend not to lose sight of the fact that 90 percent of my piss made it into the toilet.
Ian Begley: In statement, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts notes that over 90% of players are fully vaccinated. “The real story is not why vaccination isn’t mandated in the NBA. The real story for proponents of vaccination is how can we emulate the Players in the NBA.” Full statement: pic.twitter.com/DS46qtvju4
Asked what makes him “hesitant” to get the vaccine, Isaac started by recalling his own experiences, having already been infected with Covid-19. “I would start with I’ve had Covid in the past and so our understanding of antibodies, of natural immunity has changed a great deal from the onset of the pandemic and is still evolving,” Isaac said. “I understand that the vaccine would help if you have Covid, you’ll be able to have less symptoms from contracting it. But with me having Covid in the past and having antibodies, with my current age group and physical fitness level, it’s not necessarily a fear of mine. “Taking the vaccine, like I said, it would decrease my chances of having a severe reaction, but it does open me up to the albeit rare chance but the possibility of having an adverse reaction to the vaccine itself.
“I don’t believe that being unvaccinated means infected or being vaccinated means uninfected. You can still catch Covid with or without having the vaccine. “I would say honestly the craziness of it all in terms of not being able to say that it should be everybody’s fair choice without being demeaned or talked crazy to doesn’t make one comfortable to do what said person is telling them to do.
Ted Cruz: 1/2 Jonathan Isaac is absolutely right: "It is my belief that the vaccine status of every person should be their own choice, completely up to them, without bullying, without being pressured, without being forced into doing so."
Same with Bazemore, who you’ll remember said last spring he would not be taking the vaccine. On Tuesday, he said, among other things, “I’m a big energy person, and I didn’t feel the right energy toward it.” This is where the Lakers organization and, specifically, Rob Pelinka deserve a ton of credit. Bazemore cited a conversation with Pelinka during free agency in which the Lakers’ vice president of basketball managed to persuade the 10th year swingman it was in his best interest. “He laid it down to me in the most fairly honest way that I ever heard,” Bazemore said. “To pass up an opportunity like this to be on a roster with so many greats, especially during my era, it would be a hard opportunity pass up.”
“At the end of the day,” Bazemore said, “one thing you don’t want to have is regret. If I go to another team or miss this season because I didn’t do it, or I got to watch (these) guys probably with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, I’m gonna be pretty hurt. … This is a situation I can’t pass up. I’m glad I’m putting it behind me.”
Although the 100 percent vaccination rate the Lakers talked about would seem to suggest Howard either is fully inoculated, has received one or more shots or has committed to, he declined to reveal his vaccination status. “I’m just going to keep that out and not talk about any of the vaccine,” he said. “I’m sorry. I can’t do it. I have a lot of opinions, but not on camera. I have nothing to say.” Smiling, he invoked “HIPAA laws.” As I said at the time, “That’s not what HIPAA is, but OK.”
Shams Charania: NBA's 65-page health and safety protocols for ‘21-22 include restrictions on non-fully-vaccinated players, such as: No dining indoors in same room as other player, 6 feet of distance in team meeting, distant locker, remain at residence or hotel, prohibited from public venues.
Tim Bontemps: The NBA and NBPA are in the process of finalizing an agreement on COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, sources told ESPN.
Tim Bontemps: The impending agreement will cover the way vaccinated and unvaccinated players will be monitored, sources told ESPN. Unvaccinated players will have restrictions similar to what was in place last season, while vaccinated players largely won’t.
Tim Reynolds: The NBA has given teams a draft of the health and safety protocols for this season. As reported, unvaccinated players will be tested (almost) daily, vaccinated players will not be. Unvaxxed players will also be limited in how much they can be around vaxxed players in team areas.
Ben Rohrbach: Dwight Howard on a change of heart on vaccines: “I’ve got a lot of opinions on that, but I’m going to keep that private. HIPAA Law.” Reporter tells Howard, “That’s not what HIPAA is, but OK."
Bill Oram: Kent Bazemore on his initial vaccine skepticism: “I’m a big energy person and I didn’t feel the right energy around it.” But after talking to Rob Pelinka, he said, he changed his mind. Said he has had his first shot and his second is forthcoming.
Bill Oram: LeBron says he was very skeptical of the vaccine but after doing his research decided it was the right choice "not only for my family and for my friends, that's why I decided to do it."
Tim Reynolds: LeBron on vaccinations and the Lakers planning to get to 100% by the start of the season: "It was never a team discussion, but I think at the end of the day you're figuring out ways to always be available and protect one another."
Kyle Goon: Anthony Davis: "I think everybody on the team is vaccinated, if I'm not mistaken. We all have families. I did it for my family. ... I just wanted to make sure I'm always protecting my family, first and foremost."
Ben Rohrbach: Bradley Beal is asked again about how he came to the personal decision not to get the COVID vaccine: "I’m still considering getting the vaccine, so one thing I want to make clear is that I’m not sitting up here advocating that you shouldn’t get the vaccine.”
Chase Hughes: Bradley Beal clarified today after yesterday’s comments that he does not believe “the vaccine is bad” and says he doesn’t want anyone to think he was advocating against others getting them.
Adrian Wojnarowski: In response to inquiry to NBA concerning vaccination mandates for players, league spokesman Mike Bass tells ESPN: “A vaccine mandate for NBA players would need an agreement with the Players Association. The NBA has made these proposals but the players’ union has rejected any vaccination requirement.”
Though roughly 90% of NBA players are vaccinated as training camp approaches Tuesday, tension exists between those around the league mandated to be vaccinated and the nearly 40 unvaccinated players, league sources told ESPN.
In some instances, vaccinated staffers say they're concerned about the health risks of being exposed to unvaccinated players. In others, staffers say they're upset that players aren't facing the same vaccine requirements as most team staff and referees. In still others, there's animosity toward the league itself for not imposing such a mandate.
One vaccinated Western Conference strength and conditioning coach said they're concerned about a potential breakthrough case that could affect family members. "For me, it's a problem because my parents are very sick, and I'm in close contact with these guys and I would hate to bring this home and my parents pass away from it," the coach told ESPN.
Health and safety protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players have not yet been finalized, league sources said. But it's expected, as ESPN previously reported, that unvaccinated players will face more testing and be asked to sit in separate areas of team meetings, team meals, locker rooms, on the team plane and bus.
But a second league source also tied to training staffs noted that many peers "believe the league is prioritizing the athletes' lives over their own. On the opposite side, some members don't want to force anyone to vaccinate if they feel uncomfortable with it, but it should be a standard set across the board instead of the league one way and the players the other."
NBA insiders say they’re not aware of any games being missed because of a reaction to the vaccine. Beal, though, did miss time. His case of COVID cost him a spot in the Olympics and the chance to compete for a gold medal.
There’s still time. The Warriors’ regular-season home opener is three weeks from Thursday and it’ll take two weeks from a Johnson & Johnson shot (the one he’d be offered, per sources) to be fully vaccinated. So Oct. 7 is the consequential date. He is eligible to practice this week and appear in the first four preseason games, since the San Francisco rule doesn’t enact until Oct. 13.
Irving couldn’t participate in the on-site media day festivities, and league sources believe Irving will wind up taking the vaccine, citing influence from his close friend and teammate Kevin Durant. “That doesn’t mean that I’m putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team,” Irving said later.
According to Rolling Stone, Isaac was “studying Black history and watching Donald Trump’s press conferences” to inform his vaccine stance. (Former President Donald J. Trump was vaccinated in January, but states that he won in the 2020 election have much lower vaccination rates than those that favored President Biden.) On Monday, Isaac disputed the magazine’s characterization of him. “I’m not anti-vax. I’m not anti-medicine. I’m not anti-science. I didn’t come to my current vaccination status by studying Black history or watching Donald Trump press conferences,” Isaac said. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for every health care worker and person in Orlando and all across the world that have worked tirelessly to keep us safe.”
Evan Barnes: Desmond Bane had no problem getting vaccinated against Covid-19 since he grew up getting vaccines for other viruses. “Whatever happens down the road, I’ll be fine knowing that I was one of those people that was at least trying to save the other people”
CJ McCollum: I think it’s important we don’t lose sight of the fact that 90% of the league is vaccinated. Happy Monday.
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.