Protesters rallying against COVID-19 vaccination mandates and in support of basketball player Kyrie Irving gather in the street outside the Barclays Center before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Charlotte Hornets, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who is against mandatory vaccination, has been ripped to shreds over his COVID-19 vaccine stance, but former NBA player John Salley, who won four NBA championships during his basketball career, is coming to his defense … telling TMZ Sports he tips his hat to the Nets star for standing up for what he believes in: