NBA

New York City mayor-elect says Irving vaccination dispute up to NBA to resolve

By Sports Desk November 05, 2021

New York's newly elected mayor has no plans to change the city's coronavirus vaccination mandate, saying it is up to the NBA and Kyrie Irving to find a solution that will get the Brooklyn Nets star back on the court. 

The 29-year-old remains unvaccinated and is therefore ineligible to play home games at Barclays Center or games at the New York Knicks' Madison Square Garden.

Under current city restrictions, people in New York must have at least one coronavirus vaccine to enter indoor arenas, and mayor-elect Eric Adams told CNN on Friday the policy will remain in place when he takes office January 1.

"New York City is not going to change their rule," Adams said. "It is up to the NBA and Kyrie to come to a full understanding on how to keep him on the Nets and to continue to look at all of our athletes that are coming here. Again, I think the NBA and Kyrie [are] going to come to a conclusion on this."

Asked about Adams' remarks after the Nets' 96-90 road win against the Detroit Pistons on Friday, Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash said he was not surprised. 

"I didn't expect the mayor to change the mandate," Nash told reporters. "We've just got to focus on our team. If we could have Kyrie back, we'd all be ecstatic, but we focus on our team, we keep building, we keep growing and hopefully we'll be a really good team at the end of the year." 

After a sluggish start to the season, the Nets have won four in a row and sit at 6-3 following Friday's victory. 

Irving would be eligible to play in most road games but the Nets said three weeks ago that Irving would not be with the team in any capacity until he can be a full participant. 

The seven-time All-Star has played just 74 regular season games in two years since joining the Nets, missing long stretches due to injury issues and personal reasons.

 

Last year, on the same team as high-profile team-mates Kevin Durant and James Harden, Irving scored 26.9 points per game. That dropped to 22.7 points in the playoffs as he was again restricted.

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