Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets shoots the ball during the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Barclays Center on April 25, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Nets won 128-119. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
“So Kyrie talks about it as a sort of personal choice issue, which I respect,” Tsai told the New York Post in regards to Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated. “But we all need to not forget that our goal. What is our goal this year? What’s our purpose this year? It’s very, very clear: Win a championship. And the championship team needs to have everybody pulling the same direction.
“So, I hope to see Kyrie play fully and win a championship together with everybody else, with all his teammates. That’s the best outcome for everybody.”
Irving wasn’t attending the team’s media day in person due to New York City’s COVID-19 protocols, and he received plenty of questions about his vaccination status and whether he would be compliant before the start of the NBA season.
Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai attends the game between the New York Liberty and the Phoenix Mercury on Aug. 25, 2021, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)
“Honestly, I’d like to keep that stuff private,” Irving told reporters, via SNY. “I’m a human being first. Obviously living in this public sphere it’s just a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie. And I think I just would love to just keep that private, handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with the plan.
“Obviously I’m not able to be present there today. But that doesn’t mean that I’m putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team. And I just want to keep it that way, so we can keep that private. But if anyone has any further questions about that, it’ll be the same response. I would like to keep that private, and just please respect that — my privacy.”
The Nets had a coronavirus issue at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Kevin Durant and three other members of the team contracted the illness.
Durant said Monday he’d leave it up to Irving to get vaccinated.
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving looks up at the fans at TD Garden after they defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 4 during an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, May 30, 2021, in Boston. Irving was booed and heckled by the fans all game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
“I expect it not to be [an issue],” Durant said. “That’s on Kyrie. That’s his personal decision. What he does is not on us to speculate. I expect us to have our whole team at some point.”