Kyrie Irving praises Eric Adams despite ruling
BOSTON — Kyrie Irving said on Sunday that he’s "still playing the waiting game" when it comes to being allowed to play for the Nets in New York City.
Irving, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, is not permitted to play in home games at Barclays Center or against the Knicks at the Garden because of the city’s COVID restrictions. That hasn’t changed even though Barclays Center announced on Sunday that it no longer will require fans to show proof of vaccination to enter events, including Nets games.
That’s because New York City’s indoor vaccine mandate ends on Monday. But Mayor Eric Adams said on Friday that he doesn’t see a way for Irving to play under the current so-called "private sector mandate" that affects workers — even very well-compensated ones.
Irving, after the Nets’ loss to Boston on Sunday, said he is not angry at the mayor, who has said he wants to see Irving play but can’t change the rules for one person.
Just the opposite, in fact.
"Shout-out to Eric Adams, man," Irving said. "It’s not an easy job. To be the mayor of New York City, with COVID looming, vaccination mandates, everything going on in our world, with this war in 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, 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. But it’s just the reality that it’s been difficult on a lot of us in New York City and across the world. So I know he’s feeling it. I’m just grateful that he’s on my side."
Irving was asked if he’s come to the realization that he might not be allowed to play in any home games this season.
"What do you mean?" he said, as if he had not considered that possibility.
Irving has always been optimistic that something will change that will allow him to play at home. But what that something might be is not clear.