Ex-NBA star sends strong message to Kyrie Irving critics

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Stephon Marbury came to the defense of Kyrie Irving on Thursday as the Brooklyn Nets star broke his silence about his stance on the coronavirus vaccine.

Irving has been adamant about not getting the shot, which may end up costing him his season as the Nets said they would not use the point guard as a part-time player. Marbury gave Irving some support during the NBA star’s Instagram Live session when he explained his stance.

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks during Round 2, Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 5, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the game against the Boston Celtics during Round 1, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 1, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

“Sadly his views can disrupt a nation that’s been shaken by so much hate that we can debate for centuries. This really isn’t about the shot because the dude got a wicked shot but the wicked keep pressing about the shot when it’s not about a bucket so they’re trying to make it about the duckets. The fearless souls on earth navigate while those who are stuck negate towards hate. Stay light and love @kyrieirving.”

Irving broke his silence on his stance Wednesday night in an Instagram Live conversation.

“I am doing what’s best for me. I know the consequences here, and if it means that I’m judged and demonized for that, that’s just what it is. That’s the role I play, but I never wanted to give up my passion, my love, my dream just over this mandate,” he said.

Irving, who stands to lose half of his $35 million salary for skipping games over the vaccine rules, said his stand wasn’t about money.

Stephon Marbury #33 of the New Jersey Nets dribbles against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 13, 2001 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

“So what? It’s not about the money. It’s not always about the money. It’s about choosing what’s best for you. You think I really want to lose money?”

The point guard said he supported people who were and weren’t vaccinated and made no indication he was against being vaccinated. He made clear he just wasn’t getting the jab.

“Once again, I’m going to repeat this. This is not about the Nets, this is not about the organization, it’s not about the NBA, it’s not politics. It’s not any one thing. It’s just about the freedom of what I want to do,” he said.

The Nets drew a red line on Irving’s availability for the 2021-22 season. On Tuesday, general manager Sean Marks said Irving isn’t going to be a part-time player.

Irving isn’t eligible to play in home games, where a New York mandate requires professional athletes on the city’s teams to be vaccinated to practice or play in public venues.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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