Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving was easily the most controversial player in the NBA this season. Not because of his performance on the court (although his early Playoff exit was notable) but due to his issues with the COVID-19 vaccine, which he refused to receive. Irving deservingly got a ton of flack not just because of his stance towards the vaccine but of how detrimental his decision was for the Nets.
However, few people, like Irving’s previous teammate Iman Shumpert praised the former for standing up to his decision not to get vaccinated. According to Shumpert, who played with Irving for four years with the Clevland Cavaliers, everybody is entitled to do what they want to do in life, therefore nobody can boss Kyrie around.
Some decisions are bigger than basketball.
Kyrie’s decision not to get vaccinated affects not only himself but those around him. It’s fair for people to criticize Irving since the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the world’s most prominent (and still is) is over the past two years.
But for Shumpert, respecting one’s views is as important as deciding to get vaccinated. He compliments Irving for standing his ground and not succumbing to people’s demands.
“He’s [Kyrie] saying bro I’m not taking it and you can’t fault him. That’s what I said, this shit is really all about decisions. That scares people so much that Kyrie said under no circumstance am I gonna take that vaccine and everybody was like yeah, as soon as they tell him ain’t gonna pay him that money he going to do it and then they said we taking some of your check and he [Kyrie] was like okay cool and they was like “what??” Then they was like you know what you can’t play at home now and he was like okay cool and they was like oh and I’m like bro, he told ya’ll 17 different versions of this ago he’s not taking it but people in real life do not know how to do that like make a life decision that says bro this is bigger than basketball, this is bigger than everything ya’ll got going on,” Shumpert said on his appearance at The Vlad TV podcast.
Personal beliefs versus societal responsibility
One of the most significant issues in humanity that arose during the time when the COVID-19 vaccine was released was the idea of personal beliefs versus societal responsibility. Irving obviously represents the former as he has gone on the record to say that science shouldn’t dictate his beliefs and decisions in life.
Like many people, Irving remains uneasy about the remedy, and according to Shumpert, people can’t blame him for standing by that. Everybody is entitled to follow their personal beliefs even if that's not what society feels is right. After all, nobody can take away one’s freedom.
“I told myself this when I was three years old, nobody was going to make me do s**t. If I didn’t want to do it, nobody’s going to make me do s**t. I made this promise to myself. If you make that promise to yourself, who the f**k are these people?” Shumpert added.