Vaccinations in the NBA


Last year in the NBA there were a lot of covid violations and even more drama surrounding them throughout the league. From night clubs to team contaminations, covid was an unnecessary role in the outcome of the 2020-2021 season.


Reports came out that nearly 90% of NBA players are vaccinated, in hope for a decrease in covid cases throughout the league. During NBA media day, the first question asked to every single player during their interview was about their vaccination status. We heard responses from encouraging people to get the vaccine to saying it is a ‘private matter.’


The NBA has offered a vaccination requirement, but that would mean they would have to have an agreement with the NBPA, the National Basketball Player’s Association, who have declined it. They have come out to say that the NBA is a community of people who create relationships through basketball and their love of the game, and they don’t want to ruin that because of private matters. However, the NBPA has come out and released their health and safety protocols for the season, which the NBA has agreed upon. 


While the NBA does not require vaccines to play this year, some states require vaccines to enter NBA stadiums. The biggest storyline of unvaccinated NBA players is surrounding Brooklyn Nets superstar point guard and member of the NBPA, Kyrie Irving. As of October 2021, Irving is not vaccinated. The state of New York doesn’t allow unvaccinated people into the Barclay’s Center, where the Brooklyn Nets play, therefore their superstar point guard won’t be allowed into the arena unless he gets vaccinated.


We could see teams around the league attempt to trade away players who are not vaccinated, and it may be a problem. Kyrie Irving will make $33 million this year, but won’t be able to play over half of the team’s games due to his vaccination status. While NBA executives can’t discriminate against players because of their personal life decisions, can they discriminate against certain players and push them off of the team because of the effects that said life decisions can have on the team and their success as a whole?


Honestly, we’re not sure, while it does seem wrong morally to push a player out because of their personal opinions, there have been many cases of pushing players out due to their negative attitude or effect on others. While I highly doubt that someone of Kyrie Irving’s caliber will be traded, I think it is possible that we will see some smaller name players get moved around throughout the season due to their vaccination status.