Charles Barkley became the latest NBA legend to slam Kyrie Irving's refusal to get vaccinated, and praised the Nets' tough stance
- Charles Barkley has slammed Kyrie Irving for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
- "You don't get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people," said the former NBA All-Star.
Kyrie Irving has been slammed for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, who says he should "get it for other people."
Irving, 29, has chosen not to get vaccinated and has subsequently been dropped by the Brooklyn Nets.
New York City vaccine mandates mean the point guard cannot be in an indoor public space without a vaccination, making him ineligible to play at the Nets' home, the Barclays Center.
Though he would be available to play in games in other cities, the Nets have said they won't allow him to play or practice at all with the team until he gets his first shot.
Irving has not given any specific reason for his choice, other than saying, "I am doing what's best for me" - a stance Barkley says is selfish.
"First of all, you don't get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people," Barkley said on TNT ahead of the Nets opening match of the NBA season against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.
"I got vaccinated, and I can't wait to get the booster. You get vaccinated for your family first, you get vaccinated for your teammates second. That's what bothers me about the whole thing. I think everybody should get vaccinated."
COVID-19 vaccines have been shown over and over to be safe and effective. The shots lower the risk of hospitalization and death 25-fold, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Barkley, an 11-time NBA All-Star, went on to praise the Nets for dropping the former Boston Celtics star.
"I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down," he said. "For saying, 'No, we're not going to deal with this half-on, half-off.'
"The only thing that bugs me is he's still going to make $17 million sitting at home."
-NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 20, 2021
Irving isn't the only NBA player who hasn't been vaccinated. According to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, around 4% of the league's players remain without a vaccine.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson is another NBA great who have said that players who are refusing the jab are "letting down" their teammates.
"You have said to your teammates, 'I'm gonna be there for you,'" Johnson said. "Well, you can't be there if you don't get vaccinated. You're letting them down. And then that hurts our chances of winning a championship. I would never do that to my teammates. Never."
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