Former NBA All-Star point guard Stephon Marbury came out in support of Kyrie Irving’s decision to not get vaccinated against COVID-19 this week.
Irving is currently unable to participate in practices or games with the Brooklyn Nets as he remains unvaccinated. Marbury, who grew up in Brooklyn and played for both the Knicks and Nets, commented on Irving’s IG Live last night, telling the star guard that “[Muhammad] Ali would be proud” of him.
Of course, that sentiment has earned Marbury some blowback, with people arguing that the sacrifices Ali made and the anti-war, anti-imperialist messages he preached don’t compare to what Irving is doing.
Furthermore, Ali was actually a proponent of vaccines, and cut a promotional video for the New York Department of Health in 1978 advocating for children to get inoculated.
“Ali would be proud of you”
– Stephon Marbury’s message to Kyrie Irving pic.twitter.com/lCLrkotP7t
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 14, 2021
On his Instagram account last night, Irving confirmed he is unvaccinated and does not believe anyone should be “forced” to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“What would you do if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you have exemptions or that you didn’t have to be forced to get the vaccine? This wasn’t an issue before the season started,” Irving said. “This wasn’t something that I foresaw coming where I prepared for it and had a chance to strategize on what was going to be best for me and my family.”
Originally, it looked like the Nets were going to allow Irving to practice with them and potentially play in away games, as New York’s vaccination laws would have prevented him from playing at home as long as he remained unvaccinated.
However, the franchise decided this week that they were unwilling to have Irving be a part-time player. So unless the former No. 1 overall pick eventually gets the shot or the city drops the mandate, he might be sitting for a while.
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