Kyrie Irving is a hard guy to feel sorry for. He’s a former NBA Champion, (alongside Lebron James in his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers), has starred in his own feature film, has a net worth upwards of 90 million, and is famous for claiming to believe the world is flat.
More recently, he’s missed the majority of the 2021-22 NBA season as he publicly refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19 which, since he’s under contract to play for the Nets, in Brooklyn, where a citywide vaccine mandate has been in place for large employers, he’s been barred from participating in home games or team practices. And Kyrie has paid the price for this decision: it’s cost him an estimated $17 million in base salary.
He’s a superstar eccentric, but it doesn’t seem like he’s being disingenuous. Which is, unfortunately, more than can be said for the NBA’s stance regarding Irving’s recent attendance, unmasked and courtside, at his team’s game against the New York Knicks. On March 7th New York City Mayor Eric Adams lifted the city’s mandate that attendees of indoor activities (like NBA basketball games) show proof of vaccination. Irving then purchased the courtside seats out of pocket and attended the game, chatting with and hugging teammates and friends. But it was his stopping by his team’s locker room postgame that drew the NBA’s penalty. And that sent social media into a tailspin.