NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams on Nets' Kyrie Irving and COVID-19 vaccine mandates: 'New York is not going to change their rules'

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Kyrie Irving arms extended black uniform
Kyrie Irving arms extended black uniform

Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving is yet to appear in a game this season due to New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams had previously said that his administration “needs to revisit how we are going to address the vaccine mandate.” Which would've meant that Irving could become eligible to play if the mandate changed.

On Friday, Adams told CNN that the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandates won't be changing: "New York is not going to change their rules. It’s up to the NBA and Kyrie Irving to work something out.”

Following the Nets' 96-90 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, head coach Steve Nash was asked about Adams' comments about the mandate and he wasn't surprised by them.

"I didn't expect the mayor to change the mandate," Nash said. "We just have to focus on our team. If we can have Kyrie back, we'll all be ecstatic. We focus on our team, we keep building, we keep growing and hopefully we'll be a good team by the end of the year."

Per the current mandate, Irving is not permitted to play in home games with the Nets until he is vaccinated. Though he is technically allowed to practice with the team and play in road games, the Nets decided that Irving would not play or be around the team at all until he can be a full-time player.

Nash spoke on Wednesday about welcoming Irving back if the mandate changed.

“I might be speaking out of term, but I think if the mandate changes he’d be welcomed back, for sure," Nash said.

Nets owner Joe Tsai told ESPN in an interview on Oct. 29 that he has not spoken to Irving since the team's decision to play without him. He touched on the possibility of the mandate changing, and said he respects Irving's beliefs, but hopes he gets vaccinated as soon as possible.

"I hope that Kyrie can be part of the team, part of Brooklyn long term," Tsai said. "But I am not going to get into the extension thing. I think we have an immediate question of whether he can play this season. and I hope he gets vaccinated as soon as possible."