Kyrie Irving Admits COVID Vaccine Drama Was 'Distraction' For Nets
Kyrie Irving Admits After Nets Sweep Vax Drama Was 'Distraction'
4/26/2022 6:22 AM PT
Kyrie Irving is admitting it ... his COVID vaccine drama did become a "distraction" for him and his teammates this season.
Irving -- who was forced to sit out a large portion of the year after refusing to get the shots -- said following the Brooklyn Nets' 4-0 series sweep to the Boston Celtics on Monday night that his unvaccinated status did have a big effect on his team this year.
"It was just really heavy emotionally this season," Irving told reporters after the Nets' 116-112 Game 4 loss. "We all felt it. I felt like I was letting the team down at a point where I wasn't able to play."
"We were trying to exercise every option for me to play, but I never wanted it to just be about me. And, I think it became a distraction at times."
You'll recall, Irving was initially barred from Nets games and practices over his vaccine choice. He was later allowed to play in road games for the team, but not home ones due to New York mandates.
And, by the time Irving was fully allowed to suit up for Brooklyn ... the team had developed just too many issues on top of the whole ordeal to gel in time for a deep playoff run.
Head coach Steve Nash said following the loss Tuesday night it all certainly weighed on the team.
"I think that's a big reason why we were in that position," Nash said, "a lack of continuity."
Irving appears to be poised to try to rebound for the team next season ... saying he doesn't "really plan on going anywhere" this offseason.