Kyrie Irving had nothing but kind words for New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday when the Nets superstar spoke with reporters. He even went as far as to say that he felt the mayor was on his side.
That’s a far cry from the feeling most Nets fans have had about the mayor’s stance on the private-sector mandate that continues to keep Irving off the court at Barclays Center.
“Shoutout Eric Adams, man,” Irving said on Sunday after the Nets dropped their fourth straight game in Boston. “It’s not an easy job to be the mayor of New York City. And with COVID looming, the vaccination mandates, everything going on in our world, with this war in the Ukraine, and everybody feeling it across America, I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes right now trying to delegate whether or not one basketball player can come and play at home. I appreciate his comments and his stance. He knows where I stand.
“And I know one day we’ll be able to break bread together and he’ll be able to come to the games and hopefully we’ll move past this time like it never happened in our sense.”
[READ: Nets CEO John Abbamondi: ‘We’re in close contact with the city’ regarding Kyrie Irving situation]
Monday marked the first day in New York City that patrons did not require a COVID vaccine to be able to enter indoor establishments. However, the private-sector mandate is still in place and requires all employees of city-based businesses to be vaccinated in order to work.
Adams has been reluctant to make any amendments to the order so that Irving could play in home games in Brooklyn. The mayor said during an interview on CNBC last week that changing the mandate for Irving would send the wrong message to New York City employees, but Adams insisted that he would love to see the Nets superstar playing in Brooklyn.
“It’s just the reality that it’s been difficult on a lot of us in New York City and across the world. So, I know he’s feeling it and I’m just grateful that he’s on my side, as well as the commissioner (Adam silver),” Irving said.
both Silver and Adams have acknowledged that the disparity in the application of the vaccine mandates in New York City did not make sense when it came to Irving. While he has not been able to play in Brooklyn or Manhattan, visiting players that have not received the vaccine are free to compete without any issues.
Silver first broached the issue during an appearance on ESPN in the week leading up to the NBA All-Star Game and the mayor has said several times that it was unfair the way the mandate was written.
“I don’t know who thought of putting such a ridiculous rule in place of away teams can come and play,” Adams said. Former mayor Bill de Blasio was the one that wrote the language for the Key2NYC mandate and the private sector mandate, and Adams kept both in place after he took office on Jan. 1.
All eyes have been on the changing rules that impact Irving since the Nets need a crucial part of their team on the court as the season winds down. Their loss on Sunday dropped them below .500 and they fell further back from being able to clear a play-in round spot.
The Nets have only had Irving on the court for 16 games this year and his time with Kevin Durant has been severely limited because Irving can only play road games and Durant had been injured since Jan. 15. As of now, it’s still up in the air if the city makes any changes to the current mandate before the regular season ends.
“Now we play the waiting game, bro. I’m waiting just as much as you,” Irving said.