Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving made it known that he is standing with his principles over anything else.
The star point man revealed on his team’s media day this Monday that he gave up a lot of money for extension to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.
“I gave up four years, 100-and-something million deciding to be unvaccinated and that was the decision,” Irving said. “[Get this] contract, get vaccinated or be unvaccinated and there’s a level of uncertainty of your future, whether you’re going to be in this league, whether you’re going to be on this team, so I had to deal with that real-life circumstance of losing my job for this decision.”
Irving created a league-wide buzz last season upon his stern stance of being unvaccinated. Other than fumbling the bag this offseason, the decision he made paddled the Nets’ title hopes in the previous basketball year.
Irving said that he was hopeful that a contract extension with the Nets will occur, but he respects the upbringing of both sides eventually.
“We were supposed to have all that figured out before training camp last year,” Irving said. “And it just didn’t happen because of the status of me being vaccinated, unvaccinated. So, I understood their point and I just had to live with it. It was a tough pill to swallow, honestly.”
Still, the seven-time All-star is frustrated that his decision to remain unvaccinated has created a stigma.
“I understood all the Nets’ points,” Irving said. “And I respected it and I honored it, and I didn’t appreciate how me being vaccinated, all of a sudden, came to be a stigma within my career that I don’t want to play, or I’m willing to give up everything to be a voice for the voiceless. And which I will stand on here and say that, that wasn’t the only intent that I had, was to be the voice of the voiceless, it was to stand on something that was going to be bigger than myself.
“And I was going to understand probably far into the future … there was a level of uncertainty of what this was going to look like of me coming back. And I had questions, they were answered truthfully. And that’s all I needed. And now it’s just having the support around me and giving the support to my teammates.”