Earlier this month, New York City reversed a rule that required proof of vaccination to enter places like clubs, restaurants, and sports arenas. However, the city still has a mandate in place for private-sector workers. As a result, Irving is permitted to watch games at Barclays Center as a fan but is not permitted to play for the Nets at home. LeBron James came to the defense of Kyrie Irving, claiming the rule prohibiting the Brooklyn Nets guard from playing in New York makes “absolutely zero sense.”
Irving was courtside at Barclays Center on Saturday to see Duke play Virginia Tech and was in attendance for the Nets’ game against the New York Knicks on Sunday. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Irving went into the locker room and mingled with his Nets teammates during halftime.
Irving has refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and as a result, he has missed 50 games this season. The Nets initially refused to let him accompany the team on road trips, but eventually gave in, in January. However, New York City Mayor Eric Adams stated there is no timeframe for reversing the private sector mandate that continues to keep Kyrie off the court during home games. When asked why Kyrie still can’t play at the Barclays Center, Adams said, “Kyrie can play tomorrow. Get vaccinated.”
If the private sector mandate is not lifted, Irving will not be able to participate in 11 of the Nets’ last 15 games. The team is currently the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, four games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers and three games behind the Toronto Raptors.