As the NBA gets set for the 2021-22 season to begin, there has been plenty of conversation about vaccine skepticism among a small but vocal percentage of players, most notably Kyrie Irving who is the most significant holdout in a market where he can’t play home games without getting the shot.
The Nets announced on Tuesday that Irving wouldn’t play for them at all until either he got vaccinated or the mandate in New York was lifted, but Irving is one of the exceptions to the rule as most of the league has gotten vaccinated. Over 95 percent of players come into this season having gotten the vaccine, as the last push before camp drew in chunk more of previous holdouts, and for the most part, they will experience the season much as they did pre-pandemic.
Those who haven’t gotten vaccinated, however, will return to the rigid protocols of last year, with added separation from teammates and coaches who can go to dinners and out on the town on the road. Some have bristled at that, but the league’s lone player-turned-majority owner, Michael Jordan, is all-in on the NBA’s protocols, as he noted in an interview with TODAY.
Are you at all concerned about the protocols? –@craigmelvin
Not at all. I am in total unison with the league … I’m a firm believer in science and I’m going to stick with that. -Michael Jordan pic.twitter.com/mJILErs48G
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 11, 2021
It’s far from a surprise that Jordan, now part of the Board of Governors, would say this, but it is notable considering that a number of the NBA’s most prominent active voices have been less than enthusiastic about endorsing the importance of the vaccine. Jordan makes no bones about his support of the league’s policies and his Hornets squad is among those that are all fully vaccinated, which seems less than coincidental given his stature and influence.
It also led many to imagine what the infamously competitive Jordan would’ve done if he had a teammate holding out and potentially missing games on a championship squad because they refused to get a vaccine, with the general consensus being Jordan giving them the shot himself if necessary.