He also said that he has no plans of retiring from the NBA.
Irving hopped on IG hours after Stephen A. Smith blasted the 29-year-old’s “stupid” decision to not get the vaccine, which has been scientifically proven to be both safe and effective at combating serious COVID-19 complications. A staggering 719,725 people have died from the disease in the United States since the start of the pandemic.
If Irving does not get the vaccine, as is required by New York City health guidelines, he will be unable to play home games with the Nets. He’s also set to lose a significant amount of money if he continues to hold out. Irving will miss out on $381,181 for every game he can’t play because of his refusal to get the vaccine, ESPN’s Bobby Marks previously reported.
“But it is reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on a team, I have to be vaccinated. I chose to be unvaccinated and that was my choice and I would ask you all to just respect that choice,” Irving said while on IG Live. “I am going to just continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and just be part of this whole thing. This is not a political thing, this is not about the NBA, not about any organization. This is about my life and what I am choosing to do.”
Nets GM Sean Marks released a statement on October 12 saying that Irving will not be allowed to “play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant.”
Marks continued, “Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the term, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”
The Nets are set to kick off their regular season on Oct. 19 in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks without Irving.