The other day I saw a Twitter repost on my cousin’s story on Instagram:
“They let Magic Johnson play basketball with FULL BLOWN HIV but won’t let Kyrie Irving play because he won’t get a COVID shot.” – Laverne Spicer
Let’s break this down:
FACT: You cannot transmit HIV through a cough or a sneeze.
FACT: HIV is NOT an airborne virus.
FACT: HIV cannot be passed person to person through breath.
FACT: COVID-19 is an airborne virus that can be transmitted through air vapors from person to person.
FACT: A person with COVID-19 can infect someone else through a cough or a sneeze.
This means that there was virtually no way that Magic Johnson was going to infect anyone with HIV on the basketball court. The person most at risk of a health concern was Magic Johnson himself, with his compromised immune system.
Now let’s focus on the real issue here. Although I disagree with his choice, I respect Kyrie Irving’s right to not want to get vaccinated against COVID-19. But the COVID virus, the vaccine and his rights and or choices are not the issue here. The issue is that once again, Kyrie Irving is not willing to do the job that he is paid millions of dollars to do: play basketball! This is another season of Kyrie Irving coming out to show us that he really doesn’t want to play basketball anymore. It’s time that Kyrie just stopped playing the one game he does engage in with his team, his coaches, the owners and the fans: pretending he still wants to play professional basketball.
Last season he behaved like a fifth grader on a new travel team. And that is a clear insult to fifth graders, because both of my daughters played travel basketball in the fifth grade and they were never allowed to just not show up at a game. He chose not to play a game last year, and didn’t even call his coach. He informed his fellow players, but not his coach. I’m sure the “Hey, don’t pass me the ball tonight, ‘cause…I won’t be there,” might have felt like the responsible thing he could do for his teammates at the time, but what grown-ass adult doesn’t tell their boss they’re not showing up for work?
This came after a disappointing season with the Celtics where he was unable to be a team player, both on and off the court. He walked off the court before the game against the Milwaukee Bucks was officially over. Before the season began he declined to be photographed for the cover of Sports Illustrated with Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, citing his indifference to not single out individual players as more important than the total team. Guess what Kyrie, you managed to single yourself out on that one anyway.
So let’s not pretend this latest controversy is about the COVID virus and his right to not get the shot. This is just another Kyrie Irving tactic to draw attention to himself that he wants us to believe is about something else other than what it is about. Even after his Instagram Live video, where he stated that he does want to continue to play basketball, I have my doubts. Outside of injuries – which he has had many, as a lot of players do – Kyrie has still managed to make his time off the court more memorable than his time on the court. We don’t keep talking about the number of points Kyrie can put up, or how many assists he racked up. His skills were once admirable, but his spirit is what has waned. And unfortunately for Kyrie, he is less entertaining and lovable as Kyrie being Kyrie, than Manny was being Manny.
If Kyrie wants to paint, or make music, climb Mount Everest, learn carpentry, volunteer for a food pantry or Habitat for Humanity, or play video games, sleep in late, travel the world, or go work in a mine, coach, teach or anything else, then he should do so. Life is too short to be doing something that doesn’t bring you joy. He should be man enough to stand up and say, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
I hope that Kyrie finds his way in one direction or the other. I won’t fault him either way. When he was on the court and playing as a team player, he was fun to watch. Now I would much rather say goodbye to Kyrie and wish him well in his next endeavor than continue to be frustrated by his lack of enthusiasm for the game he claims he wants to keep playing. His attitude is disappointing. His refusal to play is irritating.