One of the NBA's biggest stars may not be able to play in any home games this season. Within the last week, multiple outlets have reported that Kyrie Irving has not received a COVID-19 vaccine. If true, Irving may be ineligible to play at the Barclays Center this season due to local health protocols. During a recent press conference, Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks commented on players' willingness to receive the vaccine without mentioning Irving by name.
“Regarding if they could play today, I can’t comment on who could play and so forth. There would obviously be a couple [of] people missing from that picture,” Marks told FOX Sports.
Rumors regarding Irving's vaccination status have been building within the last two weeks. Nearly two weeks ago, he told his followers that he was ready to take his "mask off" and encouraged others to do the same.
"My mask is off. Now take yours off. No fear," Irving tweeted.
Shortly after his tweet gained steam on social media, Irving doubled back and clarified that he was not critiquing any vaccine mandates related to the NBA.
"'Mask off' means you [should] stop being something you’re not and stop lying to yourself. It’s the moment you discover the real you and can walk around with no fear in a society that shows a lot of the masks people wear to hide who they truly are. [It was] nothing COVID rule related. Relax," he wrote.
Irving is not the only player who may not be able to play in home games this season. On Thursday, multiple league sources told ESPN that Andrew Wiggins had not been vaccinated against the virus. As a result, health regulations in the San Francisco area would bar him from playing in any home games for the Golden State Warriors.
"To each his own, really. Whoever wants to get it, can get it; whoever doesn't want to get it, don't get it," Wiggins said on March 22, according to ESPN.
"Right now, I'm not getting it, but it's no knock on anyone else that's getting it. I make my own decisions. But right now, I decided not to get it."
Wiggins has not publicly commented on his vaccination status since late March. With the start of the 2021-2022 season quickly approaching, it is unclear if he will obtain the vaccine in order to play.