There may be a chance Kyrie Irving does indeed play this season.
The unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets star could change course and get the jab if a plant-based version of the vaccine becomes available, according to Brandon “Scoop B.” Robinson of Bally Sports.
Per Jackson, Irving has adopted a 100 percent plant-based diet and he would be more amenable to taking a vaccine of that nature.
While the NBA does not have a vaccine mandate, Irving has not played this year because he is ineligible to attend the Barclays Center under New York City’s vaccine rules, which prompted the Nets to make the decision he would not be allowed to play for the team until he is vaccinated or NYC’s law changes.
A plant-based vaccine from a Canadian biopharmaceutical company is currently undergoing clinical trials.
New York City recently elected a new mayor in Eric Adams but he has no plans to relax the vaccine mandate.
Irving’s decision has turned into a controversial one, fueling the vaccine mandate debate.
The Nets star has insisted he is not “anti-vax” and is not trying to be a “voice for the voiceless,” despite previous reports, according to Jackson. Instead, it appears he does not trust the available vaccines despite no evidence to suggest they are unsafe.
Nets head coach Steve Nash said on Monday that if Irving were to get vaccinated the team would happily welcome him back.
“If we get the gift of his return, we’ll be ecstatic,” he said. “We can’t wait for him. We have to get to work, and get better, and our group’s been awesome this year.”