Nets star guard Kyrie Irving still won’t be eligible to play at home at Barclays Center in Brooklyn if New York lifts its ban. vaccine mandate for restaurants, gymnasiums and most indoor spaces, as Mayor Eric Adams said Sunday he intended to do so by March 7 if Covid-19 cases remain low.
Irving, who is not vaccinated against the coronavirus, will always be the subject of another private sector vaccination mandate.
Fabien Levy, a publicist for Adamsconfirmed this on Sunday, writing on Twitter, “The fastest way for all New Yorkers to get back to normal life is for ALL of us to get vaccinated.”
It is unclear whether the private sector mandate will be lifted, although Adams has suggested in recent weeks that many vaccine requirements would be removed. The city’s press office did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the Nets.
“In the next few weeks you’re going to see a lot of those mandates dissipate,” Adams said last week. Earlier this month, Adams called the rule banning Irving from playing home games ‘unfair’, given that unvaccinated athletes from opposing teams can play at both Barclays Center and Madison Square. Garden, home of the Knicks.
Irving has played in just 15 of the Nets’ 61 games, in part because of his refusal to get vaccinated, and will not be able to play Monday night’s game at home against Toronto. Irving’s erratic availability and injuries to other players are among the factors that have contributed to the Nets’ descent from one of the best teams in the NBA to a team now fighting just to make the playoffs. The Nets (32-29) are the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with about a quarter of the season remaining. To avoid the league play-in tournament for the playoffs, the Nets would have to finish as the sixth seed or better.
“I am as much as you guys are,” Irving told reporters after the Nets’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. “So staying patient and seeing where things end up next week or two weeks, I’m not too sure.”