Ex-Mavs guard Jason Terry on Kyrie Irving’s vaccine stance: ‘That’s who he is.’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

For those who truly know Kyrie Irving, the player’s latest headline is not a surprise.

Former Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry knows Kyrie Irving, and he knows there is no chance the oddly odd Brooklyn Nets All-Star is changing his mind.

“If you know Kyrie, he believes in what he believes in, whether we agree with him or not,” Terry told me. “I am not surprised by this at all. It’s one of those things that when he believes in something, that’s it.”

With the start of the 2021-22 NBA regular season just days away, Irving remains unvaccinated against COVID, and because of that he will not be permitted to play until either he gets the shot or until the protocols, or city regulations, regarding the virus change.

New York City currently requires proof of one vaccine dose to enter large indoor gatherings, which would include Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The Nets have said that Irving will neither play nor practice with the team.

On Thursday at the Dallas Convention Center, Terry was in attendance at a fitness expo where he was serving as a brand ambassador for an at-home fitness app.

Since the NBA has never known a better talker than Jason Terry, I asked him what he thought about Irving’s stance. The two were never teammates, but Terry was in the NBA for the first seven years of Irving’s career.

“I’ve played with many teammates who had many opinions on different topics, throughout the course of their career,” said Terry, who after spending last season as an assistant coach at the University of Arizona is now the head coach of the NBA’s G League team in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Kyrie is an individual and we’re all individuals and, for me, it’s what he believes in. You can’t change a man’s beliefs no matter what the monetary implications are. His beliefs are his beliefs.”

Speaking of monetary implications.

Because Irving is unwilling to receive the vaccine that decision will cost him $16 million. Sixteen. Million. Dollars.

That would be the approximate “road” portion of his $34 million contract for this season.

Since he is eligible to play in locales that do not have protocols against unvaccinated players road games, Irving could currently suit up for nearly all of the team’s 41 road contests — provided he passes his COVID tests. But the Nets want him available for all of their games, not half of their games.

Because Irving doesn’t want the shot, it will likely cost him his spot not only with the Nets, but also affect potential interest from other NBA teams.

Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Nets plan not to offer Irving a contract extension; Irving has a player option with the Nets for the 2022-23 season that would be the final year of his current deal.

Much like the Cavaliers and Celtics before, the Nets are learning that while Irving is a brilliantly talented player, his mercurial behavior is a handful.

If Irving really does not play this season, that could have an awful effect on a team that with him in the lineup next to James Harden and Kevin Durant could win the franchise’s first NBA title.

“Only one team can win a title and last [season] they didn’t win it,” Terry said. “This year it’s not guaranteed. What he believes in, that’s guaranteed. It’s just something he wholeheartedly believes in, and you are not going to change him.

“That’s who he is.”

And that is why Jason Terry is not surprised at all by Kyrie Irving’s latest headline.