Adrian Wojnarowski: Any unvaccinated NBA player with temporary VISA status leaving the country will be unable to re-enter the United States, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. For example, a player would be unable to re-enter after playing in Canada, or traveling outside U.S. on All-Star weekend.
Shams Charania: Sources: Beginning Jan. 15, any NBA player who is not fully vaccinated will be unable to enter Canada to play games in Toronto. Canadian government will require all individuals entering Canada to be fully vaccinated.
The Nets still have championship aspirations, and the presence of Irving, who averaged 27 points, five rebounds and six assists last season, would certainly help in achieving that goal. They are still paying the seven-time All-Star for the road games he misses due to the team’s decision to not employ him as a part-time player for away contests. “From what I’ve seen, they’re still a good team without Kyrie, but they definitely need him,” former Nets guard Deron Williams recently told Bally Sports. “I hope everything gets figured out. But as far as my thoughts on Kyrie, he’s doing what’s best for him. I respect what he wants to do.”
Irving has not been sitting idly. According to people close to him, the seven-time All-Star has been working out pretty regularly, focusing on cardio, weight training and meditation, and spending time with his immediate family. “This is the happiest that I’ve seen Kyrie in years,” one source said.
Those closest to him also have shared that Irving knows anything he says will be magnified and scrutinized and he doesn’t want to be viewed as an anti-vaxxer. He’s not taking this stance to be a voice for the voiceless. He’s just not trusting of the available vaccines, according to sources.
Tim Reynolds: The NBA is up over the 60% mark now in eligible players having received booster shots. There will be a huge push to get that much higher in the coming days.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: The NBA’s completed study with infectious disease specialists and testing manufacturers on preseason antibody test results of 2,300 players and staff, finding further evidence of need for the NBA-NBPA recommendation of booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Among study’s findings: Antibody levels vary via vaccine type and among people vaccinated in same period; antibodies decline over time; Moderna and Pfizer vaccines created higher levels of antibodies compared to J&J. After reviewing results, NBA’s infectious disease experts believe some individuals who received J&J vaccine at least two months ago – or a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago – have increased risk of breakthrough infections.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA has a 97 percent rate of vaccination among its players now. Study's results will be used to continue to make case for those eligible for booster shots to get them -- and for those remaining unvaccinated to become vaccinated.
Adrian Wojnaroski: Per study, NBA's aware of 34 cases of vaccinated player or staff diagnosed with breakthrough case of Covid. 3 of 34 infections with individuals with "not detected" antibody levels; 31 of 34 had detectable antibody levels much lower than average of remaining testing population.
The Memphis Grizzlies, in partnership with the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD), announced today a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination event at Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum (adjacent to FedExForum) on Friday, Nov. 26, from 5-7 p.m. There will be 100 doses of the Pfizer-Biotech COVID-19 vaccine available for eligible persons aged 12 and older. Vaccine recipients at the event will each receive two Terrace Level tickets for that night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Joe Mussatto: Effective Dec. 1, the Thunder will no longer require vaccinations or negative tests for fans to attend home games. Children 2-11 will no longer be required to wear masks.
Unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes will no longer be able to travel to Canada as of January 15, minister of public safety Marco Mendicino said on Friday. Currently, NBA and NHL players who have yet to receive one of Canada's approved COVID-19 vaccines are able to enter the country under a national interest exemption.
Those who remain unvaccinated will soon be unable to play games in Toronto against the Raptors or in any of the seven Canadian NHL teams' home arenas. It is unclear whether unvaccinated Canadian athletes who play for American teams would be able re-enter the country with their teams. However, beginning November 30, vaccination will be required for travel within and out of Canada.
When Joel Embiid will return from Covid-19 protocols Pompey: From what I’m hearing, it’s fluid. The earliest he can return is Thursday (Nov. 18). I’m hearing it could be a little later than that because he was symptomatic when he contracted Covid-19. Not only does he have to get the two negative tests and quarantine, Joel is one of these guys that when he takes time off, he’s a big guy and easily gets out of shape. He hasn’t been doing anything basketball-wise. Even once he comes back and is cleared, there’s probably going to be a return to play process taking place… He could return Thursday (Nov. 18), but I think it’s going to be a couple of days after that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was next week or once they get back from this road trip because they’re playing at high altitude.
After Towns received his COVID-19 vaccination, he shared a picture on Instagram. George left a comment that made light of the concerns about the vaccine: “They say it shrinks your foot.” It was a moment where people who may not have understood the dynamics of Towns and George’s relationship may have thought George was being insensitive or sharing skepticism of the vaccine. But both men say that wasn’t the case at all.
“First of all, he called me personally, and was like, ‘You already know it’s a joke, right?'” Towns said of George’s comment on the Instagram post. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, for sure.'” “I wasn’t thinking of it that way, obviously,” George acknowledged. “But the obvious is, you know, I’m sensitive to the situation. And it was probably not the best joke at the time. But I didn’t mean it in that way. Until people brought it to the attention of, you know, they’re trying to go left and right with it.”
Brandon Robinson: Kyrie Irving's vax choice is his @Spencer Dinwiddie tells me: "Everybody has their own decision to make and it’s not on me to make that decision for him. I believe that in any form, fashion or life so you know, he has to do what’s best for him and I’m not the man to judge at all."
Mark Medina: Lakers coach Frank Vogel said team plans to meet tomorrow to talk to players about COVID-19 booster shots, but said he didn’t have full details on everything that will be discussed
Kyle Neubeck: Rivers notes he is pro COVID vax boosters and frames this as an issue far beyond sports: “The reason this is still around in my opinion is you’re responsible for others, and unfortunately i don’t think we all understand that.” (Referring to general we, not guys on roster we)
Shams Charania: 76ers All-Star Joel Embiid has entered health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Tonight was planned rest for Embiid, but he could miss several games.
Noah Levick: Joel Embiid is now the fourth Sixer in the health and safety protocols, source confirms @Shams Charania. He joins Tobias Harris, Isaiah Joe and Matisse Thybulle.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What’s especially bothersome is that Aaron Rodgers didn’t just lie and threaten the health of those around him, he also damaged professional sports. Many athletes make a lot of money on product endorsements, which depends on the public’s favorable perception of athletes. In 2020, global sports sponsorship was worth about $57 billion. Yet, every time a pro athlete like Kyrie Irving (anti-vax), Henry Ruggs (speeding at 156 mph, crashing, and killing someone), Evander Kane (forging vaccination card), or Aaron Rodgers does or says something stupid, the public trust in athletes lowers and sponsors might consider avoiding players in favor of actors, pop stars, or social media influencers. Steph Curry and LeBron James don’t have to worry, but some up-and-comers might not get the same opportunities.
Chris Rock stands with the medical community in supporting as many people as possible rolling up their sleeves to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. On Wednesday, he spoke out on the subject while at the mic, opening for the Strokes at the venue Brooklyn Steel. He also called out one unvaccinated person in particular: Kyrie Irving, a point guard for the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, who has refused to comply with New York City's vaccine mandate that professional athletes be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues. "Where's my anti-vaxxers at? Where you at?" the former Saturday Night Live star said. "You f****** dumb Kyrie motherf******."
And supporters that almost got out of control on Opening Day in Brooklyn. Now, Adrian Wojnarowski says Irving has “some hope, some optimism” that New York’s Mayor-Elect, Eric Adams, might possibly change the mandate that’s keeping him off the court when the new mayor takes office on January 1. Here’s how Woj explained it in talking with ESPN colleague Mike Greenberg Wednesday... “Eric Adams, the Mayor-Elect of New York City, talked today about revisiting possibly January 1 when he takes over, the city’s vaccine mandates for government workers and there’s some hope, some optimism, including, I’m told, around Kyrie Irving, that revisiting may also include performers and athletes including Kyrie Irving.”
A change in the New York City Mayor’s office could pave the way for Kyrie Irving to return to the Brooklyn Nets in 2022. Mayor-elect Eric Adams plans to “revisit” the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate rules once he takes office, according to the New York Post. “We need to revisit how we are going to address the vaccine mandates. Now, I stated I did not want to Monday-morning-quarterback the mayor [Bill de Blasio]. This is his time to be the man, he has to make the decisions,” Adams said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” per the Post.
He added on CNN’s “New Day” that “I hope the mayor -- and I am encouraging him to do that -- to sit down with unions and come to a resolution. And if he doesn’t, if this is still going to January, I’m going to sit down with them and we’re going to get this resolved.” The Nets last month banned Irving, a West Orange native, from practices and games because he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19. The team has said he can only return as a “full participant,” meaning either he gets vaccinated or New York’s regulations change. Irving is projected to lose about half of his $35 million salary this season as a result, but still gets paid for road games.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams vowed to “revisit” the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for municipal workers when he takes office and reach a “resolution” on the matter, as he took an election victory lap Wednesday morning. During a series of media appearances the day after he handily beat Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa, the Democrat also repeatedly promised he wouldn’t step on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s toes regarding the controversial jab order. “We need to revisit how we are going to address the vaccine mandates. Now, I stated I did not want to Monday-morning-quarterback the mayor. This is his time to be the man, he has to make the decisions,” Adams said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
As Kyrie Irving remains away from the Nets, refusing to adhere to the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the team has moved on without him. Tuesday afternoon, in an ironic twist, the Nets and Liberty teamed up with Gov. Kathy Hochul to offer free tickets to anyone who gets vaccinated at Barclays Center — which Irving has been unwilling to do. “I think the message is that the team itself supports vaccinations,” Hochul said, when asked directly about Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated. “The vast, vast, vast majority of their players are vaccinated, and they’re here to support making sure that members of the community are vaccinated. That’s the takeaway from today’s event.”
Tim MacMahon: Unvaccinated Mavs guard Trey Burke will miss his second game this season due to not being available during the COVID testing window. He forfeits those game checks.
Tim MacMahon: Mavs G Trey Burke, who is not vaccinated, is out vs. Spurs tonight due to Covid protocols. Kristaps Porzingis will sit at least the first game of the back-to-back due to the lower back tightness that caused him to exit early in Tuesday’s win.
Floyd Mayweather has stepped into the NBA ring involving Kyrie Irving and local COVID vaccine mandates. In a video posted to Twitter on Monday, Mayweather declared that he respected the Nets star for "having some integrity and being your own man." Under New York City's guidelines, unvaccinated Knicks and Nets players are not allowed to enter their home arenas for games. Knowing that Irving would only be available for road games until he is vaccinated against COVID-19, Brooklyn decided before the start of the 2021-22 regular season that Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is "eligible to be a full participant."
"America is the land of the free: freedom of speech, freedom of religion and, supposedly, freedom to choose. Never be controlled by money. I respect you for having some integrity and being your own man. A free mind makes his own choices, and a slave mind follows the crowd. Stand for something or fall for anything. One man can lead a revolution to stand up and fight for what's right. One choice, one word, one action, can change the world. It's crazy how people hate you for being a leader. I hope your actions encourage many others to stand up and say enough is enough.
Security staff at the venue are seen trying to push the protesters back away from the doors, while chants of “Let Kyrie play” ring out. The arena was forced to briefly go into lockdown until the situation was brought under control, a spokesperson for the Barclays Center told The Independent.
“Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule.” An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that no arrests were made over the altercation.
Nets Daily: Last two SNLs have mocked Kyrie Irving’s stance on vaccines. In a skit this week, he gets tricked into getting the shot. At 3:25 in. youtu.be/KDRKmNf3rT0
The Mavericks will soon lift their requirement that fans show either proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 48 hours to attend home games. At least as long as Dallas County data complies. As the daily average case count in Dallas County remains below 500, which it reached last week, the Mavericks will ease their health and safety protocol for fans, Mark Cuban told The Dallas Morning News.
If the metric again surpasses 500 — which it did when the Mavericks enacted their original vaccination and negative test rules in late September — then Cuban said the team will reinstate the requirements. The change, however, won’t take effect by Dallas’ regular-season home opener Tuesday night against the Rockets.
Kristian Winfield: Kevin Durant: "We definitely want Kyrie Irving on the floor, and he's a huge part of what we do, but it's not happening." Says nobody is sitting on the court and "hoping Kyrie comes to save us." #Nets
A group of protesters gathered outside Barclays Center waving flags and signs while chanting, "No vaccine mandate, stand with Kyrie" before the Brooklyn Nets' home opener against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. Around 100 people stood in the plaza outside the arena and on the street blocking traffic on Flatbush Avenue, many showing their support for Nets point guard Kyrie Irving's decision not to get at least one vaccination shot to comply with New York City's mandate in order to play home games.
At one point, a few of the protesters pushed barriers and got to the front entrance of Barclays before being held off by security. There was also plenty of police presence in front of Barclays.
Kristian Winfield: Statement from Barclays Center spokesperson: “Barclays Center briefly closed its doors today in order to clear protestors from the main doors on the plaza and ensure guests could safely enter the arena. Only ticketed guests were able to enter the building and the game proceeded according to schedule.”
Ohm Youngmisuk: The scene outside Barclays Center where a group of protesters chant, “No vaccine mandate, Stand with Kyrie.” Several hold “Stand with Kyrie” signs. This is the Nets’ home opener. Kyrie Irving will be away from team until he complies with NYC vaccine mandate.
Barbara Barker: Building in lockdown. They are not letting any more fans in. I just practically gave up my first born to get in media door.
Protesters who held a rally in Times Square last weekend against the city’s vaccine mandate will hold a demonstration this Sunday in support of the Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, who has chosen not to get the COVID vaccine. Jo Rose, who was at the rally in Times Square and will attend the demonstration for Irving, told Fox News they will start at Commodore Battery Park and march to the Barclays Center ahead of the opening game for the Nets. Irving is not eligible to play home games in Brooklyn because of a New York City mandate.
One of the organizers, John Matland, told Fox News he anticipates several thousand attendees. Matland described the burgeoning movement as a "widely diverse group" united under the goal of stopping what they regard as an infringement on their personal liberties.
Michael Grange: Standing ovation at TD Garden for the introduction of Dr. Dan Barouch, who led the team that identified one of the COVID vaccines. Put him on NBA's top-75.
In partnership with University of Utah Health, the Utah Jazz today announced a community vaccination clinic, with two free Jazz tickets to a future game for the first 50 individuals receiving a vaccine shot, and health fair to be held from 2-5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 at the main entrance of Vivint Arena.
Andrew Lopez: Willie Green says every player on the Pelicans has received at least one shot. Should be fully vaccinated in a week or two when two guys receive their second dose.
Following Isaac going mega-viral when he spoke about not getting vaccinated, I reached out for an exclusive interview, and he was incredibly impressive. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football) “It starts with me personally. I’ve had COVID in the past and I feel like I’ve done a good amount of research that’s only getting stronger that suggest immunity from natural infection is just as good, if not better than immunity from the vaccine. There’s the part about me being healthy. I’m young,” Isaac explained when I asked why he chose not to get vaccinated. He further added when talking about the hysteria, “This thing is crazy. It’s getting out of hand. I feel like people have been so weaponized and to a degree misguided by the media.”
Charles Barkley says there's no bad blood with Kenny Smith after their passionate debate over Kyrie Irving's refusal to get vaccinated ... telling TMZ Sports everything's cool between them. We talked to Chuck outside LAX on Wednesday ... and asked the Hall of Famer if he was beefin' with The Jet after the 2 buddies got into a heated conversation on "Inside The NBA." "Me and Kenny are great. We’re great," Barkley said, adding, "We can be different, it's all good."
Lakers legend Magic Johnson wants every NBA player to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Ahead of Opening Night of the league's 75th anniversary season, Johnson told CBS News that every player should advocate for vaccination of the general public. He also urged non-vaccinated NBA players to get vaccinated. "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," Johnson said. "You letting them down and then that hurts our chances of winning a championship, I would never do that to my teammates. Never."
He not only praised the Brooklyn Nets franchise for their decision to not allow Irving to play but also had his say on the point guard's decision to not get vaccinated. "I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down," Barkley said. "For saying no, we're not going to deal with this half on, half off (situation). The only thing that bugs me is he's still going to make $17 million sitting at home."
"First of all, you don't get the vaccine for yourself, you get it for other people," he said. "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. That's what bothers me about this whole thing."
Radio host Howard Stern tore into NBA superstar Kyrie Irving over the guard's refusal to receive a coronavirus vaccination, calling him "the biggest idiot in the country right now." "Talk about stupid, there’s some people who are willing to walk away from millions of dollars and not get vaccinated,” Stern said on his nationally syndicated radio program on Tuesday. “They’re so stupid they’re putting their mouth where their money is.” "In terms of idiots, he’s got to be the top idiot in the country right now," Stern said of Irving. "Guy's got a chance as a young man to make millions of dollars, all he’s got to do is get vaccinated, but he doesn't want to get vaccinated.”
Nets Daily: Michele Roberts told Stefan Bondy last week that she expected there would be no more that a dozen unvaccinated players by Opening Night. Adam Silver told Malika Andrews on ESPN that players were getting jabbed today. Sounds like the coterie of the unvaxxed is increasingly small.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: This tepid kid-glove handling from players who have all gotten the vaccine appears more an attempt to preserve a congenial working relationship than true support for making asinine choices. They’re like the Real Housewives pretending they’ve got Erika Jayne’s back in her legal woes because they still have to go to dinner parties with her. Though they don’t mean to, by not strongly condemning Irving, they are signaling passive support, which is as damaging as joining him on the bench as a vaccine-denier.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: There are serious consequences to tiptoeing around what is clearly a threat to many people’s lives, especially Black lives? The last time I wrote about this topic a couple weeks ago, we had just hit 700,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. As I write this today, we’ve reached 723,754 deaths. By the time you read this, a few thousand more will have died.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Irving has made it clear—in an unclear way—that he is resisting getting vaccinated, not because he’s against the vaccine, but because he’s against mandates: “Just know that I'm rocking with all those that have lost their jobs to this mandate, and I'm rocking with all those that chose to get vaccinated and are choosing to be safe, as well. I'm on both sides of all this. I support and respect everybody's decision.” Respecting everyone’s decision sounds good—sounds so patriotic and All-American. But it’s lame logic. We don’t respect the choice of someone in an apartment building to let mold run rampant because it will make all the tenants sick. We don’t respect the choice of letting your house burn to the ground without fighting the fire because it may burn the neighbors’ houses, too.
"I would have preferred that ultimately that the Players Association agreed to mandatory vaccinations. The officials union agreed to mandatory vaccinations despite oppositions from some of their members. "But ultimately I think we could have avoided a lot of the adversarial nature of these issues for our players. It’s not so much with the league; I think that gets confused in some cases. This is between Kyrie and New York City right now. This is not a league issue. As you’ve pointed out, it’s not mandatory in the league. "But I think it would have been best for everyone if every player were vaccinated."
Kyrie Irving, due to an ordinance in New York City, is the only player ineligible to play in select games. "Well, at the time we were discussing it with the Players Association, the percentage I believe of players vaccinated was in the low 80s," said Silver. "I’m not sure they could have predicted at that point precisely how many players would choose not to get vaccinated. "I won’t try to speak for them, other than the view that some players had, I think including maybe some players who are vaccinated, that it should be individual choice among the players.
Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams told The Post Saturday he’s “extremely optimistic” Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving will suit up soon for his hometown squad — despite the guard’s refusal so far to get vaccinated for COVID-19. “I think this is going to work itself out,” said frontrunner Adams, who is currently the Brooklyn borough president. He continued: “I believe we’re going to find a way to have safety and to continue to keep our standards strong.”
“I believe the NBA and Kyrie, they should work out how they are going to address that, and I think it’s going to be up to them … and the city to come down with a real agreement, and at this time I think the NBA and Kyrie would be able to come to an agreement,” Adams added at an unrelated get-out-the-vote event in Queens. Adams declined to address whether he would take specific action on the matter, but added that if elected, “I’m going to sit down with the Department of Health and I’m going to follow them in every area of dealing with COVID, every area of dealing with health issues.
Williams, of course, was a star at Duke and taken with the second overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2002 NBA Draft. He suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle crash in 2003 that ultimately cost him his playing career. Williams also doubled down on his defense of Irving. “Kyrie Irving doesn’t owe you anything. He doesn’t owe you a response on your timeline. He doesn’t owe you answers that you feel like you need,” Williams said. “Everybody says, ‘Oh, the NBA season starts in five days.’ Who gives a damn.”
“My main thing is: We don’t have years and years of data for how it can affect you,” Porter tells me. “So for me, I know I’m immune to COVID right now—more immune than a lot of people with the vaccine are. I’ve had it twice. I’ve got the antibodies, all those things. It’s just laying off on it for now. I’m not against the vaccine. What I’m against is not allowing other people to have a choice, or people trying to force it on other people.”
Porter isn’t the only NBA player to express this perspective, nor is he the only member of the Nuggets to start the season unvaccinated, despite the best efforts of management and even other teammates. “The numbers are overwhelmingly supportive of getting vaccinated,” Connelly says. “I shared those opinions loudly not with just Michael—he’s not the only guy on our team that shares a similar stance. It’s something I don’t agree with, but it’s a very personal decision. It’s not something we can or would mandate.”
Last year on Snapchat, Porter described the fear of COVID-19 as a means of controlling people’s behavior, and said of the pandemic: “It is a serious thing, it’s a real thing, but yeah, this is being overblown.” In San Diego, Porter took a very different stance. “People that say it’s not a big deal,” he clarified, “are definitely misinformed.”
“I’ve been called anti-vax, MAGA Porter Jr., things like that,” he says with a chuckle, shaking his head. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth.” Regardless, there has never been an easier time to tell Porter exactly what you think of him, seeing as social media works as a direct pipeline for all the bile the internet has to offer.
“Would I love to say that we’re 100 percent fully vaccinated? Of course,” Malone says. “I hope we get there at some point. But as we wait for that to happen, we’re gonna stay together. We’re gonna support guys and not judge or alienate or put guys in the corner. … It’s our responsibility to make sure we’re still loving Michael and supporting him. And hopefully at one point, he makes that decision that he thinks is in his best interest as well as our best interest as a team, to do that.”
Yet team management and ownership figures across the league have voiced frustration about double standards for players like Irving, whom the NBA does not require to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, the league does require basketball and business operations staffers to be vaccinated, and they are subject to close contact with unvaccinated players.
There is a belief among ownership figures that this discrepancy could net a concession from the players' union during the next round of CBA negotiations, sources said, especially after media day was dominated by conversation about players’ vaccination statuses. The storyline has only continued casting a pall over this preseason, as the Nets announced Tuesday that they will not permit Irving to join the team until he is vaccinated.
Brian Lewis: Steve Nash said he didn't listen to Kyrie Irving's IG Live and is done talking about him. #Nets #NBA
“This is not the ideal situation coming into the season but it’s out of our control. What we can do is come in and focus on our jobs every single day. What is being mad going to do? It’s not going to change his mind,” Durant said after the Nets preseason finale win over the Timberwolves. “We’ll let him figure what he needs to do and let the team figure out what they need to do. Us as players, when we’re in the locker room or on the floor, we are going to work with each other. Life is amazing. I can’t be too mad at somebody making a decision for themselves. Who am I to get upset at that?”
“I definitely want Kyrie to be around. I wish none of this stuff happened but this is the situation that we’re in. Kyrie made his decision on what he wanted to do. He chose to do what he wanted to do and the team did the same,” Durant said.
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has spoken up in defense of benched Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving, who has steadfastly refused to get the COVID-19 shot. "The fascist NBA won't let Kyrie Irving play for refusing a vaccine. But yet they still let Magic Johnson play with HIV," wrote Greene in a tweet on October 14.
Former Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry knows Kyrie Irving, and he knows there is no chance the oddly odd Brooklyn Nets All-Star is changing his mind. “If you know Kyrie, he believes in what he believes in, whether we agree with him or not,” Terry told me. “I am not surprised by this at all. It’s one of those things that when he believes in something, that’s it.”
If Irving really does not play this season, that could have an awful effect on a team that with him in the lineup next to James Harden and Kevin Durant could win the franchise’s first NBA title. “Only one team can win a title and last [season] they didn’t win it,” Terry said. “This year it’s not guaranteed. What he believes in, that’s guaranteed. It’s just something he wholeheartedly believes in, and you are not going to change him. That’s who he is.”
January 17, 2022 | 12:02 pm EST Update
The National Basketball Association will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday with games and celebrations commemorating the life and legacy of the civil rights icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner, who dedicated his life to achieving racial equality. King would have celebrated his 93rd birthday today.
Some teams are also taking part in King celebrations in other ways; 10 teams are planning youth events in their cities as part of the “Team Up For Change” initiative that focuses on “uniting, inspiring and activating around a shared commitment and call for racial equality and social justice.” The Washington Wizards held a roundtable discussion last week on how King still impacts the push for social change — and Wizards forward Daniel Gafford said it’s important for even pro athletes to find time to help their communities, according to the Associated Press.
Nine-year NBA veteran and Illinois basketball great Meyers Leonard and his wife, Elle, a Gies College of Business graduate, have made a $500,000 gift to the Ubben Basketball Complex renovation and expansion project. Meyers and Elle will be in attendance at Monday’s tilt against Purdue, marking Meyers’ first game back in the arena since his final game as a Fighting Illini basketball player.
Saturday Night Live brought back their somewhat-recurring NBA on TNT sketch last night. Featuring Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley, Alex Moffat as Ernie Johnson, and Chris Redd as Kenny Smith, the studio parody also found room (albeit barely, given the size jokes at play) for Bowen Yang as Yao Ming, filling in for Shaq.
The premise focused on the recent rash of disruptions to the NBA, which has forced what are essentially replacement players into action around the league. It was a fairly funny sketch (confession: I’m personally not the world’s biggest SNL fan, but this particular bit is as close to my wheelhouse as it gets, and Thompson and Redd are especially fun in their roles and Moffat got EJ’s cadence right, at least), recapping an imagined Nets-Kings first half that saw the Nets beating up on a roster filled with “fans and arena support staff.”