NBA

Which NBA players are still not vaccinated?

With all the Kyrie Irving talk dominating the media, it may have been lost that actually 95% of the league is vaccinated. So who else remains?

The Covid 19 vaccination saga continues in the NBA with Kyrie Irving’s recent ban dominating the media. Though many defend the choice to not get vaccinated as a personal one, that choice is causing repercussions throughout the league. Some cities have tight restrictions which prohibit any unvaccinated player from entering indoor gymnasiums. Those cities are San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles, which means any unvaccinated players from the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, and LA Lakers will be affected by the laws.

Is the Covid vaccine required for NBA players?

The NBA itself is not requiring the players to be fully vaccinated for the season, but they will have different protocols for those who are and are not. The league is trying to encourage people to get the vaccinations. Some of the protocols for unvaccinated players include undergoing a Covid 19 test on each day which includes play or travel, possibly even more than once in a day on game days, and they must social distance from the team. Whereas, fully vaccinated players can sit together in the locker room and during meals and will not have to undergo any Covid tests.

It was announced in June that 99% of players in the NBA were vaccinated, but now there have been some public revelations that pushed that number back a bit. As of September, that percentage is being reported as 95% after some stars revealed they still haven’t received the shot.

Which players are unvaccinated?

Originally, Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins had refused the vaccine, but has since changed his mind and reported receiving the shot. He had received criticism after requesting a religious exception from the jab. He said he felt like he had to either get the shot or not play.

Some others are still not convinced and are refusing to get the shot based on “personal” decisions. The unvaccinated players we know right now are Denver Nugget forward Michael Porter Jr., Brooklyn Net guard Kyrie Irving, Washington Wizard guard Bradley Beal, and Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac.

Bradley Beal - Washington Wizards

Among those who have refused to get the Covid 19 vaccine is Bradley Beal, who has said he does not believe it will actually protect him from the virus. He spoke out on Media Day, asking those with the vaccine why some of them are still getting Covid. Fortunately for Beal, Washington D.C. does not have strict Covid laws like some of the other cities, so he will be fine to play at home games without the shot.

Jonathan Isaac - Orlando Magic

Jonathan Isaac very adamantly claimed to not be an anti-vaxxer. Rather, he just doesn’t feel comfortable receiving the vaccination at this time. He stated his appreciation for healthcare workers, but said he thinks the decision is a personal choice that shouldn’t result in bullying or guilt trips. “What it is that you do with your body when it comes to putting medicine in there should be your choice,” he said, “free of the ridicule and the opinion of others.”

Michael Porter Jr. - Denver Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. has tested positive for Covid 19 twice and said that he’s not comfortable taking the vaccine based on how his body could potentially react. He is also a devout “personal choice” defender, who says the NBA shouldn’t be forcing anyone to get a vaccine. “I see it both ways,” he said. “If you get it because you feel more protected and you feel safer, and it’s protecting people around you, get it. That’s good for you. But if you feel like, ‘Oh, for me, I don’t feel safe getting it’, then don’t get it.”

Kyrie Irving - Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving has been dominating the headlines regarding the vaccination drama recently. He plays for the Brooklyn Nets, so his refusal to get vaccinated directly affects him and the team. He asked for people to respect his privacy and said that it is his own personal decision. That may be so, but it indeed has consequences. Because of that decision, he will not be able to participate in a single home game, and the Nets will not allow him to participate in any away games either. Nets general manager Sean Marks said he does not want a part-time player. If Irving is traded, there are rumors that he might just retire. But to that he said this, “I know the consequences here, and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that's just what it is. That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate.”