Kyrie Irving still hoping for NYC COVID-19 vaccine mandate change

Kyrie Irving may have been joking about having a meeting set up with the mayor’s office Monday, but he was dead serious about hoping to play home games this season at Barclays Center.

“Who knows?’ Irving said.

Irving is currently barred from playing in Barclays Center or the Garden due to his refusal to comply with New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. He’s also barred from playing in Toronto.

That means Irving is currently only eligible for three of the Nets’ next 11 games, with tilts at the Knicks and Raptors thrown in the mix.

When asked if he has reason to believe the mandates might change, Irving replied, “Who knows? Who knows? I know it’s not a laughing subject to be talking about, but who knows what could happen?”

Obviously the simplest path to playing would be for Irving to get vaccinated, but he has shown no signs of doing so. The vegan guard reportedly might be more open to a plant-based vaccine, with Medicago’s vaccine going through clinical trials and hoping for approval in Japan next month. It’s unclear when the FDA would approve.

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Despite being a New Jersey resident, Irving can’t qualify through a non-resident loophole as visiting players do. It appears his hope is based on mandates changing.

Kyrie Irving will be eligible to play in only three of the Nets’ next 11 games.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“I’m keeping a positive mindset that anything can happen in the next few days or the next week,” Irving said. “Just crossing my fingers that something can come up before All-Star break or after. So I’m definitely keeping a positive attitude in that sense.”

New York’s mandates have actually gotten tougher, from initially just needing one shot to now having to be fully vaccinated; i.e., 14 days past the second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, or 14 days past the one-shot J & J.

Yahoo! Sports spoke with Mayor Eric Adams’ office last week and was told, “There are currently no plans to amend the mandate. The spokesperson also added we will continue to follow the science and the guidance of public health professionals to keep New Yorkers safe. We encourage all New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted to stop the spread.”

Irving was asked Sunday night if he’d been in contact with city officials, and replied, “Who do you think I am?”

When told that he might get such an audience because he was “big-time,” Irving laughed and said, “Oh, I like that you said that. I’ll be talking to the city [Monday].

“No, I’m just playing. I’m keeping a positive mindset that anything can happen these next few days and the next week, and just crossing my fingers that something can come up either before All-Star break or even just after. So I’m definitely keeping a positive attitude in that sense.

“If I pop up on y’all at home games don’t be surprised.”

Steve Nash presumed LaMarcus Aldridge would be doubtful with a left ankle sprain for Tuesday’s game versus the Celtics. He added James Harden and center Nic Claxton.

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