Kevin Durant Insists He Will Not Try To Convince Kyrie Irving To Get Vaccine


The Brooklyn Nets saw what they could be when Kyrie Irving finally returned, with a win on the road in Indiana this week. But despite a convincing loss on home court to the Milwaukee Bucks the very next game without Kyrie, Kevin Durant says he will not be trying to convince his teammate to get the COVID vaccine so that he can play in Brooklyn. He told ESPN's Nick Friedell after the loss to the Bucks that's not his place.

I told him how important he is, how much I want him to play -- play every game. But I'm not about to force somebody to get a vaccine, like that's not my thing. So he can play basketball? Nah, I'm not about to do that.  

We've had conversations about wanting him to be a part of the team and conversations about him being here full-time, but that's on his time. Whatever decision he want to make, he's going to make. It's on us to be professionals no matter what, and do our jobs. All of us -- from the owner down to the equipment manager -- so whenever he ready, he'll be ready."

KD, in fact, says he hasn't asked Kyrie about why he won't get the vaccine. "I haven't even asked for an explanation," Durant said. "It ain't my place I don't think... When Kyrie's ready to make decisions for himself he will, and I trust that."

As for Nets coach Steve Nash, he's echoing the team's sudden stance reversal, happy to have Irving back.   

With the unvaccinated Irving ineligible to play in New York due to the city's vaccine mandate, the Nets had said at the start of the season they would not welcome a "part-time" player. With the team struggling to stay in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference, that moral stance is out the window. 

Irving will not be able to play in 3 of the Nets' next 5 games, which are on home court, starting on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs. 

Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports