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Charles Barkley on Kyrie Irving: 'You don’t get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people'

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The Brooklyn Nets lost their season opener 127-104 to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night. It was the first of what could be many games without star Kyrie Irving, and Charles Barkley had absolutely zero patience for his absence from the team.

Due to his decision to remain unvaccinated, Irving isn't allowed to play home games or away games. New York's vaccine mandate bars him from playing at home, and the Nets have decided to bar him from playing away games until he gets vaccinated and can play games at home.

Barkley laid into Irving on Tuesday night on "NBA on TNT," praising the Nets for refusing to let Irving be a part-time player.

“First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people," Barkley said. "I got vaccinated and I can't wait to get the booster. You don't get vaccinated just for yourself ... You get vaccinated for your family first, you get vaccinated for your teammates second.   

"That's what bothers me about this whole thing. I think everybody should get vaccinated. I really am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down and saying we’re not going to deal with this half on, half off. The only thing that bugs me is he’s still going to make $17 million sitting at home."

NBA commissioner tells Irving to get vaccinated

NBA commissioner Adam Silver also weighed in on the Irving situation. Ernie Johnson asked him on "NBA on TNT" what he'd say to Irving to convince him to get the vaccine. 

"I'd tell him to get vaccinated, first and foremost, for himself and his family," Silver said. "Next, for his teammates and his community, and also for the league that I know he cares so much about. I understand it's not just Kyrie. There are people in this country who disagree with the notion of getting vaccinated. But at least from everything that I understand, science is firmly on the side of getting vaccinated."

Silver also said that Irving's decision to refuse the vaccine is keeping him from doing more than just his job as a basketball player. It could also keep him from being an "engaged member of society."

“It’s already saved tens of millions of lives. I think, at some point, for Kyrie to be an engaged member of society — putting aside this league — he needs to get vaccinated. That’s the law in New York: if you want to play in an arena, if you want to visit an arena, if you want to participate in an activity in an arena, you need to be vaccinated, and that’s where he finds himself.”

The Nets already have one game in the books without Irving. He could choose to miss no more games and get vaccinated, or he could miss every single game this season. The decision is entirely up to Irving.