Stephen A. Smith has criticized Kyrie Irving for his stand on the vaccine mandate. According to reports, Irving has no problem taking the vaccine. But he is apparently concerned about people losing jobs due to the new mandates laid down by three US states.
The Brooklyn Nets have ruled Kyrie Irving out of action until he decides to take the vaccine. NBA insiders are also speculating about a possible trade for him if Irving doesn't change his vaccination stance.
Speaking about the entire fiasco on the First Take, Smith tore into Irving for his rigid stance that could derail the Nets' title hopes. Smith said:
"So you don't have a problem with taking the vaccine; your position is that you're going to sit up there and compromise the championship aspirations of an organization you signed on to represent. You coaxed Kevin Durant into signing on and represent, you played a role in coaxing James Harden into signing on to represent."
"You're going to compromise all of that, because you want to give a voice to the voiceless. Really, and how is that going to work out for you, Kyrie Irving? You're going to disappear from the game of basketball. Who the hell is going to be interested in what you have to say when you have proven that you can't even be trusted to do even your damn job.
Smith, though, said that Kyrie Irving's heart is in the right place. However, he was critical of the seven-time All-Star's take on the vaccine mandate, saying:
"I am not calling Kyrie Irving stupid, Kyrie Irving, I happen to believe is an intelligent brother. But now you've regressed to an alarming level of self-righteousness, it not only makes you look hypocritical and untrustworthy."
"It makes you look, what I know you are not, which is flat-out stupid. It's the stupidest thing that I think I've.... like you going to sit up there and not play and not take a vaccine that evidently you don't have a problem with, according to the reports. You just want to give a voice to the voiceless. Really?"
How impactful has Kyrie Irving been for the Brooklyn Nets?
Kyrie Irving joined the Brooklyn Nets during the 2019-20 season. In a season plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic, Irving played 20 games, averaging 27.4 PPG on 47.8% shooting from the field. He did not travel with the team to the Orlando bubble, and continued his preparation for the 2020-21 season.
Irving is an integral part of the Big 3 of himself, Kevin Durant and James Harden in Brooklyn. Irving put up a historic 50/40/90 season and helped the team to the second seed in the East last season.
With James Harden's injury early in the playoffs, the Nets were dependent on Irving and Durant to lead the team to the championship. However, they were given a huge blow when Irving got injured in Game 4 against the Bucks. He had looked good throughout the playoffs, averaging 22.7 PPG on 47.2% shooting from the field.
Ahead of the 2021-22 season, many have touted the Brooklyn Nets as favorites to win the championship. However, Kyrie Irving's absence could be a huge loss for the Nets. Although they still have the likes of Harden and Durant, their road to victory could be tricky without Irving.
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