Nets' Kyrie Irving praises NYC Mayor Eric Adams over vaccine mandate comments


Unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is praising Eric Adams as an ally in spite of the New York City Mayor’s reluctance to lift the COVID-19 injection mandate in the private sector that has prevented the NBA star from playing home games this season.

Under recently altered New York City rules, Irving is allowed to attend a Nets game as a spectator, but not as a player, because private-sector workers in the city are still required to be vaccinated. Adams, an avowed Nets fan, said he wants to see Irving playing at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but cannot make an exception for one person. 

Adams went so far as to tell CNBC last week that the current rule ‘makes no sense,’ but even though he thinks it’s ‘ridiculous’ he needed to guard against sending mixed messages to his constituents.   

‘Shoutout Eric Adams, man,’ Irving said during a video press conference after losing to his former team, the Boston Celtics, on Sunday. ‘It’s not an easy job to be the mayor of New York City. And with COVID looming, the vaccination mandates, everything going on in our world, with this war in the Ukraine, and everybody feeling it across America, I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes right now trying to delegate whether or not one basketball player can come and play at home.

‘I appreciate his comments and his stance. He knows where I stand.’

Unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is praising Eric Adams as an ally in spite of the New York City Mayor's reluctance to lift the COVID-19 injection mandate in the private sector that has prevented the NBA star from playing home games this season

Unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is praising Eric Adams as an ally in spite of the New York City Mayor’s reluctance to lift the COVID-19 injection mandate in the private sector that has prevented the NBA star from playing home games this season

Under recently altered New York City rules, Irving is allowed to attend a Nets game as a spectator, but not as a player, because private-sector workers in the city are still required to be vaccinated. Adams (pictured), an avowed Nets fan, said he wants to see Irving playing at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, but cannot make an exception for one person. Adams went so far as to tell CNBC last week that the current rule 'makes no sense,' but even though he thinks it's 'ridiculous' he needed to guard against sending mixed messages to his constituents

Under recently altered New York City rules, Irving is allowed to attend a Nets game as a spectator, but not as a player, because private-sector workers in the city are still required to be vaccinated. Adams (pictured), an avowed Nets fan, said he wants to see Irving playing at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but cannot make an exception for one person. Adams went so far as to tell CNBC last week that the current rule ‘makes no sense,’ but even though he thinks it’s ‘ridiculous’ he needed to guard against sending mixed messages to his constituents

Adams has mused about completely lifting the mandate, and thereby allowing the seven-time All-Star to fully participate for the Nets ahead of the club’s final playoff push. But in a recent interview with CNBC, he acknowledged that he can’t risk another outbreak in the city, even if it means helping his favorite NBA team.

‘Listen, I want Kyrie on the court,’ Adams said. ‘I would do anything to get that ring. So badly, I want it. But there’s so much at stake here. And I spoke with the owner of the team. We want to find a way to get Kyrie on the court, but this is a bigger issue.

‘I can’t have my city closed down again. It would send the wrong message just to have an exception for one player when we’re telling countless number of New York City employees, ”If you don’t follow the rules, you won’t be able to be employed.”

Addressing reporters after just his 16th game of the season on Sunday, Irving described Adams

‘And I know one day we’ll be able to break bread together and he’ll be able to come to the games and hopefully we’ll move past this time like it never happened in our sense.

The Nets and Irving have remained optimistic about his chances of playing home games this season.

Irving scored just 18 points while being booed throughout Sunday's loss in Boston

Irving scored just 18 points while being booed throughout Sunday’s loss in Boston

‘Now we play the waiting game, bro,’ Irving said Sunday, after being booed by Boston fans throughout his 19-point performance in a 126-120 loss to the surging Celtics on Sunday. ‘I’m waiting just as much as you.’

Afterward the loss, in which he mad just 8 of 18 field-goal attempts, Irving said Boston fans were acting like a jilted lover following his decision to sign as a free agent in Brooklyn rather than re-signing with the Celtics in 2019.

‘I know it’s going to be like that for the rest of my career coming in here,’ Irving said. ‘So it’s like the scorned girlfriend — wants an explanation on why I left, but still hoping for a text back. I’m just like, ”It’s fun while it lasted.”

‘I think that’s the relationship that makes it fun, but the reality is I’m just grateful for my time here in Boston. Everybody in the front office, everybody in that locker room treated me well. Still have lasting relationships in our league that extend as a brotherhood for us. And we still remain close.’

The Nets had originally refused to let Irving play this season, saying they didn’t want any part-time players. But after struggling with injuries to Kevin Durant, among others, the team allowed Irving to return to practice in January and play road games.

Brooklyn is just 5-11 when Irving plays this season.

The 32-33 Nets are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and are in danger of missing the playoffs despite entering the season with NBA title aspirations.

Protesters rallying against COVID-19 vaccination mandates and in support of basketball player Kyrie Irving gather in the street outside the Barclays Center before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Charlotte Hornets, Sunday, October 24, 2021, in New York

Protesters rallying against COVID-19 vaccination mandates and in support of basketball player Kyrie Irving gather in the street outside the Barclays Center before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Charlotte Hornets, Sunday, October 24, 2021, in New York



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