Kyrie Irving's decision to not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, along with local mandates, kept him from playing in more than half of last season's games with the Brooklyn Nets. Playing time wasn't the only thing that his personal choice kept him from receiving.
Speaking to the media during Nets media day on Monday, Irving explained that being unvaccinated kept him from receiving a $100 million contract extension with Brooklyn.
"I gave up four years, 100-and-something million deciding to be unvaccinated and that was the decision. It was contract, get vaccinated or be unvaccinated and there’s a level of uncertainty with your future whether you’re gonna be in this league, whether you’re gonna be on this team," Irving said.
"I had to deal with that real-life circumstance of losing my job for this decision. I was dealing with all those emotions while trying to secure my future for my family ultimately."
Irving Averaged 27 Points Per Game Last Season
Irving was able to play in certain road games where mandates were lifted. But, he didn't make his home debut for the Nets last season until March 27. That was in Brooklyn's 75th regular season game.
Irving has been vocal when it comes to his stance regarding the vaccine. He recently shared a message on Twitter disagreeing with New York City's decision to keep the mandate in place for unvaccinated city workers.
"If I can work and be unvaccinated, then all of my brothers and sisters who are also unvaccinated should be able to do the same, without being discriminated against, vilified, or fired," Irving tweeted last week. "This enforced Vaccine/Pandemic is one the biggest violations of HUMAN RIGHTS in history."
Irving and the Nets open up their season in Brooklyn against the New Orleans Pelicans on October 19.