On Oct. 24, the Brooklyn Nets' first home game for the 2021-22 NBA season, fans were gathered outside Barclays center not just to support their team, but to chant "Let Kyrie play!' The star point guard has refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine, contrary to New York's mandate, which requires all professional athletes to get inoculated to play or practice in public venues.
A quarter into the NBA season, Irving has yet to change his stance on the matter. He has received a ton of flack because of this. However, he's also gaining a lot of respect. The latest to pledge allegiance to Irving is none other than NBA legend John Stockton, who is also against vaccines.
"You have a lot of supporters Kyrie. Not all them of can get to you, and you can't get to all of them, but there's every bit a majority out there that's sitting there pulling for you. They're just not quite as bold as he is. I'm proud of him as an individual to take that kind of individual risk and be that bold for what you feel is right," Stockton said, DNP-CD Sports podcast.
Stockton has been building on his case against the COVID-19 vaccines. The Hall of Famer has shared his voice in a vaccine conspiracy documentary entitled Covid and the vaccine: Truth, Lies, and Misconceptions."
Due to his vaccine holdout, the Nets did not extend a $186-million extension to Irving. Reports reveal that the one-time NBA champion is giving up roughly half of his $35.1 million salary this season. Standing up for what you believe in amid financial losses is something that sits well with Stockton. He has tremendous admiration for the seven-time All-Star.
"I have such great respect for Kyrie Irving for stepping up like that. He's right in the mix of it, he has a tremendous amount to lose in endorsements. So I salute him."
If Stockton were active today, he shared that he would probably pull a Kyrie Irving, too.
"There's not a chance I would risk any of that to play. My hope would be other guys would join in. And all of us lock arms. And none of us play."