We learned that 10% of NBA players are still unvaccinated, but the general expectation is that most players will eventually get the shot. If the overwhelming scientific data wasn't enough, teammate pressure and the ultimate hit on their wallet are expected to do the trick and convince the 10% to get the vaccine. If there's one guy who might take the financial hit, it's Kyrie Irving - and it would be a major hit.
Irving to lose more than half of salary next year
With New York implementing a policy that requires athletes to get vaccinations before playing in indoor arenas, Irving is in danger of missing home games and games in Madison Square Garden. If the Brooklyn Nets star thinks he could work around the guidelines, the NBA's vaccination rules appear to be stricter.
Because of this new rule, Irving would lose more than 50 percent of his salary if he refused to get vaccinated. Kyrie is set to make $34.9 million next season. As the players are paid on a per-game basis, each game Irving missed would cost him $425,807. If he were to miss all home games and away games against New York Knicks, Irving would forfeit a total of $18.7 million, which is more than half of the amount he would have gotten.
The one-time champion is already a multimillionaire. He could walk away today if he wants to and still have a comfortable life. However, is it worth losing that amount of money and the sanctions that come with it because of his continued refusal to get vaccinated?
Impact on the league and Nets management
The 29-year-old is one of the superstars of the league and a rolemodel in his community. Without explaining his reasons for not getting vaccinated, young kids who see him as a role model could misinterpret his decision and use Kyrie's decision as an excuse.
While the Nets are the obvious favorite to win the title with just KD and Harden on the floor, having Kyrie on the court makes them unstoppable. Reports say the Nets hope Durant will ultimately convince Kyrie to get the vaccine and shop up for his team. In the end, that may mean more to Irving than the $18 million.
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