NBA Vaccine



The National Basketball Association will not require players to take the vaccine.

Morgan C., Justin T., and Sophia T.

Recently reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA, and NBA Players Association will not be requiring players to be vaccinated in order to play in the 2021-22 NBA Season. 

Three teams in major cities are requiring players to be vaccinated if they wish to play at their home stadium: the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Golden State Warriors. It was reported that any players who miss games in those cities will not be getting paid. Is it worth the risk of not being able to do what you love just because you do not want the vaccine? Some say yes, some say no.

On Monday, September 27, the NBA had its annual Media Day. Of course, the first question on every analyst’s and reporter’s mind was, “What is your vaccine status?” Most players were proud to say that they got the vaccine, but others didn’t decline questions.

Nets All-Star point guard, Kyrie Irving is one player who has been all over the news. On Media Day, Irving was not at the arena and had to do his conference over Zoom. Although it has not been confirmed, most analysts and fans presume that Irving has not been vaccinated. He wants to keep his status private. 

“Please, everything will be released at a due date…once we get this cleared up,” Irving said, “As of right now, please just respect my privacy regarding anything — home games, what’s happening with vaccination…” 

Washington Wizards All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal actually opened up about not being vaccinated. Beal fired back to reporters as they kept asking questions regarding whether he would end up getting vaccinated.

“I am not vaccinated. No, no. I would like an explanation [to people who are vaccinated]. Why are they still getting Covid? If that’s something that we are supposed to highly be protected from, it’s funny that it only reduces your chances of going to the hospital. It doesn’t eliminate anybody from getting Covid, right? So is everybody in here vaccinated, I would assume? Right. So you all can still get Covid, right?” Beal said.

As a result, Beal will miss games that may cost the team potential wins.

Another player who has been in the news lately is Golden State Warriors starting small forward Andrew Wiggins, who recently requested a religious exemption from the vaccine. However, the NBA denied his request. At Media Day, Wiggins had multiple questions regarding his vaccine status. He repeatedly answered, “That’s private information.” 

However, with unending pressure to win, especially with Klay Thompson still out until at least December, Wiggins received the vaccination. Head coach Steve Kerr announced yesterday that Wiggins felt like he was “forced” to get the vaccine. 

“I felt like the only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” said Wiggins. “It was a tough decision.”

So what do the players who have taken the vaccine have to say about the mandate? 

Lakers superstar forward LeBron James, like all players, was asked about his Covid vaccination status. James is indeed vaccinated, but he made it known that he had been hesitant to get the shot. “I was very (skeptical) about it,” James said. 

Hall of Fame power forward Charles Barkley agreed that all sports leagues should mandate players to get the vaccine if they want to play when reporters asked for his stance on the vaccine.

“Can you imagine if one of these guys that are not vaccinated, if they get one of these players’ kids, wives, girlfriends, moms and dads sick, and they die over some unnecessary conspiracy bulls—,” Barkley said, “I think that would be tragic.” 

Also, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was not afraid to come out and explain his beliefs on the vaccine. During his interview, Abdul-Jabbar had some words for players trying to keep things private. 

“They don’t have to explain anything, but if they don’t want to get vaccinated, I don’t think they should be allowed to play,” said Abdul-Jabbar. 

There is a lot of disagreement about the vaccine and the NBA continues to struggle with players who defy the recent Covid mandate.