HE’S BACK! Adams amending NYC vaccine mandate to allow Kyrie Irving, other athletes to play at home

Kyrie Irving
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) celebrates during the second half with forward Kevin Durant (7) after scoring a career high 60 points against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An end may be finally near for Kyrie Irving’s inability to play home games at Barclays Center. New York City Eric Adams is expected to amend the private-sector mandate that has kept Irving from the floor in Brooklyn on Thursday, according to a report from Politico.

It would be a massive policy shift by the Mayor’s office, which would help avoid a similar situation for both the New York Mets and New York Yankees. The reversal is expected to be for performers and athletes at local venues, such as Barclays, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, and it comes just days after Adams rolled back mask mandates for kids 2-4-years-old on Tuesday.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania also reported similar news on Wednesday night after the Politico report was published.

The changes are expected to go into place immediately once the Mayor makes the announcement on Thursday, according to Charania. That means Irving can make his Barclays Center debut on Sunday when the Nets host the Charlotte Hornets and he is now eligible to play in all of the Nets games left in the regular season.

“I would welcome that,” Steve Nash told reporters ahead of the game against Memphis after he was made aware of the report that changes were coming to the mandate that has impacted Irving.

The Nets head coach was asked his opinion on what it said that it took baseball to force a change that basketball couldn’t. Nash opted not to say much on the topic.

Baseball’s opening day is only a few weeks away and there had been a growing call for some change to be made to the mandate after it was revealed the Mets and Yankees would be impacted by it. Baseball season begins in New York on April 7 with opening day at Yankee Stadium while the Mets host their first home game on April 15.

WFAN Radio’s morning show, Boomer and Gio, had been the first to report that an announcement could be made on Thursday during their broadcast on Tuesday morning. Well-known media personality and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason said in a clip circulated by the show’s social media that the mandate could be lifted by Thursday.

WFAN is the radio broadcast home of the Nets.

The ongoing saga has dragged on for months since Irving was brought back into the fold on a part-time basis in January. Mayor Adams had maintained a hardline stance that he wouldn’t make any changes to the mandate just for one person or because of a sport.

He appeared to double down on that again on Tuesday during the mask mandate rollback announcement.

“Right now we’re going to take some complaints,” Adams said earlier this week. “But when this is all said and done people are going to realize that this is a thoughtful administration and we got it right. So baseball, basketball, business, all of those things they have to wait until that layer comes. Right now we are announcing just our 2-4-year-olds.”