The Texas Republican, who is fully vaccinated, tweeted his support on Wednesday for Wiggins and three other prominent NBA players who have publicly declined to be vaccinated: Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac.
Cruz, who earned a 0% grade from NARAL Pro-Choice America last year, also used the hashtag "#YourBodyYourChoice."
Because of local mandates in San Francisco and New York City, neither Wiggins nor Irving will be able to play in all 41 of their team’s home games without being vaccinated. Wiggins hasn't received a single dose of the vaccine, and he needed to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine no later than Wednesday in order to be able to practice and play at Chase Center when San Francisco's rules go into effect on Oct. 13.
Nearly a year to the day after tweeting he wouldn't watch LeBron James play in the NBA Finals for "the first time in years" because of the league’s "concerted effort" to "turn every game into a left-wing political lecture," Cruz also called on the league’s most popular player to refuse to play in arenas where his peers can’t because of their refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Cruz tweeted that he agreed with James "for the first time," quoting the Los Angeles Lakers star's comments Tuesday in which he said it was "not my job" to convince other players to get vaccinated.
"We're talking about people's bodies and well-being. I don't think I personally should get involved in what other people should do for their bodies and livelihoods," Cruz accurately quoted James as saying.
Cruz's citation left out the sentence prior in which James said "(we're) not talking about something political, or racism or police brutality," referring to issues NBA players highlighted during what Cruz called the league's "left-wing political lecture" in its return to play amid the pandemic in Orlando, Florida last year. Cruz tweeted months prior that James was a "shill" for Democrats and an "apologist" for the Chinese Communist Party.
"I can speak about myself, I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their families," James said earlier in his press conference. "I know that I was very skeptical about it all, but after doing my research, I felt like it was best suited for not only me, but my friends. That's why I decided to do it."
NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told multiple outlets on Wednesday that "(any) player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses." Wiggins is slated to make nearly $31.6 million in the penultimate year of his contract.