The NBA has yet to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all NBA players. However, they have placed many restrictions on unvaccinated players, and many players are taking issue with the new rules. These restrictions are to reward players who have received the COVID-19 vaccine and reward them.
Some of the restrictions include being separated from teammates while traveling and in the locker rooms, constant testing, and limiting what gatherings they can attend. Also, unvaccinated players will receive more testing, and if they come back positive, they will not get paid for any games missed. Furthermore, the NBA abides by any state or city COVID-19 mandates, meaning stricter regulations in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Some of the top players in the league have opposed these restrictions and have been vocal about their opinions. Here are the top five players who have done so.
#5 Jonathan Isaac (Orlando Magic, Power Forward)
Jonathan Isaac seems to have been involved in many controversies over the last two seasons. The first one was when he stood up for the national anthem while the rest of his teammates kneeled in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now he has been outspoken against the new COVID-19 restrictions that the NBA has mandated.
In his three-year career with the Orlando Magic, Isaac has averaged only 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Isaac has shown a lot of promise since entering the NBA, and the issue is that he has constantly been dealing with injuries. He missed all of the 2020-21 COVID-19 season after tearing his ACL during the NBA’s bubble in response to COVID-19.
Since the NBA has started these COVID-19 mandates, Isaac has been one of the most vocal players against it, going on numerous talk shows to voice his opinions.
#4 Andre Wiggins (Golden State Warriors, Small Forward)
Andrew Wiggins is one of two players on this list in cities that require anyone entering an enlaced area to be vaccinated. This meant that if Wiggins had not been vaccinated at the start of the season, he would not have played in home games.
Wiggins has averaged 19.5 points a game in his eight-year career. Despite winning Rookie of the Year in the 2014-15 season, Wiggins has yet to meet the highest many thought he could become. Many believed Wiggins would become a constant participant in the All-Star game, but he has yet to become one.
Wiggins asked the NBA for an exception from the COVID-19 protocol due to religious reasons but was denied. Wiggins went on the podium on Golden State Warriors media day to share his reasoning but has since received the COVID-19 vaccine.
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