The Kyrie Irving saga has dragged on throughout the season, with his refusal to get the Covid-19 vaccine causing unavailability issues on a consistent basis. After sitting out the first 35 games of the season entirely, Irving was brought back into the team by the Nets but has still not been allowed to play in home games at the Barclays Center thanks to the vaccine mandate in New York, although the Nets are reportedly confident that this will change.
Things have gotten quite ridiculous at this point, with unvaccinated players on other teams being able to take the floor at Brooklyn's home arena but Irving is still being asked to sit out. His decision to not take the team has cost the team a lot, including reportedly triggering the events that caused James Harden to push for a move away from the franchise.
Irving is in attendance as the Nets play their local rivals the New York Knicks at lunchtime on Sunday. Irving bought courtside tickets to watch his teammates play but isn't allowed to suit up and be on the court.
Whether Kyrie's decision to not take the vaccine is right or wrong is now hardly the point. The fact that Irving can be sitting by the courtside without a mask but not play for the team that's playing a few feet away from him is hard to understand. In a year of bizarre occurrences, this is right up there.
The Nets are a game over .500 as they try to make a run up the standings in the regular season and secure an automatic playoff spot for themselves. The Knicks have been playing quite well despite being the 12th seed in the East and the two teams are quite evenly matched at the moment. There is no doubt that if Irving were allowed to play in this game, the impact would be massive for the Nets. As it is, all he can do is sit and watch.