/  01.18.2022

Kyrie Irving, who was previously benched for his anti-vaxx stance, is standing firm in his decision to remain unvaccinated. After the Brooklyn Net’s 114-107 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday (Jan. 17), he revealed that nothing — not even Kevin Durant‘s current knee injury — would change his mind about the COVID-19 shot.

“That’s what I think comes into a lot of this culture and basketball and sport and entertainment,” Irving told reporters. “You bring in teams and you bring in situations. Kev’s going to heal, Kev’s going to be OK, and we’re going to have to deal with that as his teammates. But in terms of where I am with my life outside of this, I stay rooted in my decision. And that’s just what it is.”

“It’s not going to be swayed just because of one thing in this NBA life,” he continued. “That somehow it’s brought to my attention as being more important than what’s going on in the real world. It’s just not happening for me. Again, I respect everyone else’s decision, I’m not going to ever try to convince anyone of anything or any of that, I’m just standing rooted in what I believe in. And though we’re dealing with this right now with Kev, I just know that I’m protected by the organization, I’m protected by my teammates, I’m protected by all the doctors I’ve talked to. And I just stand rooted.”

Irving also explained that he’s bothered by the fact that his decision is often tied to his profession and not his personal life.

“You’re bringing my vaccination status into a basketball game, and I live my life, the majority of the time, when I’m away from this. So when I say I’m not getting vaccinated and I’m making a choice with my life, somehow it gets mixed into, ‘Well, what about the basketball?'” said the baller. “When it’s like no, bro. We live in a real world. It’s great to be able to do this. I’m grateful for the opportunity. I love being with my teammates. I love playing on the Nets, but I’ve already been away enough time to think about this, to process it, to be able to make this decision, stand strong, understand that people are gonna agree and some people are gonna disagree.”

Irving recently made his return to the court after initially being prohibited from practicing or playing with his fellow teammates. Following a few COVID-19 diagnoses and injuries on the Brooklyn team, he is back as a part-time player. He is still, however, banned from playing home games because of New York’s vaccine mandate.