MIAMI — When information broke Wednesday that the New York City mandate that stored unvaccinated athletes from enjoying in house video games has been lifted, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving stated he needed to stay pinching himself to ensure it was once actual.
On Thursday, New York Mayor Eric Adams introduced the mandate was once lifted, clearing the best way for Irving to play in house video games at Barclays Center, one thing he hasn’t been ready to do all season.
“Please take my comment seriously when I say I’ve been pinching myself since Wednesday and Thursday because there was a time where I got my hopes really, really high and all the air just got let out,” Irving stated at Nets’ shootaround forward of Saturday evening’s sport in Miami.
“I didn’t want to get too excited. Still tonight, I’m trying to stay focused on this game. But I know tomorrow will eventually come and I’m looking forward to playing back in Brooklyn.”
And with the mandate factor in the back of him, Irving began to appear forward at what may well be subsequent for he and his teammates.
“To be honest, I signed up for this for the long run,” Irving stated. “I love this year. I’m grateful. It has not been the prototypical year. But when I look at my teammates and I look at what we have as an organization. I’m looking for the long run and what we can do, legacy talk.”
Irving has a participant choice for subsequent season at over $36.5 million. If he declined the participant choice, Irving may signal an extension for as much as a five-years and $246 million, since he has reached 10 years of provider.
“For me, it has always been about being comfortable and loving where I’m at. I love it here,” Irving stated. “Once that summertime hits, I know we’ll have some conversations but there’s no way I could leave my man 7 anywhere.”
No. 7, after all, is Kevin Durant. Irving and Durant signed at the side of Brooklyn in 2019.
“For me, our team sentiment is we want to build a legacy here and have something sustainable,” Irving stated. “Not just put this together real quick and then see what happens. But we’re going to do our best.”
The Nets play the Heat in Miami on Saturday evening earlier than touring again to Brooklyn for a house sport in opposition to the Charlotte Hornets. It will likely be Irving’s first sport at house since June 7, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in opposition to Milwaukee.
Irving stated that whilst he’s appreciative of Adams for lifting the mandate, he nonetheless feels there may be extra to be achieved.
“Like I’ve been saying from the beginning of all this, it’s never been about me,” Irving stated. “Any special privilege or exemption, I think there are a lot of people dealing with real consequences from being unvaccinated. I don’t think it’s talked about enough in terms of our essential workers and people on the front lines. It’s a whole community of us that really want to stand together.”
On Friday, Durant informed newshounds that he was once happy the Irving scenario was once in the back of them.
“It’s a long time coming,” Durant stated. “It’s an exciting time for Brooklyn Nets fans and New York fans to see one of our own back on the floor at home. It means a lot to our team, happy to have him back, and look forward to finishing the season strong.”
At 38-35, the Nets are the No. 8 seed within the East, 3 video games again of Toronto for No. 7 (the Raptors are tied with the Cavaliers however Cleveland has the tiebreaker). Brooklyn additionally holds only a half-game lead at the Hornets and a 1½ lead at the Atlanta Hawks.
Six of the Nets ultimate 9 video games are at house — and one of the crucial highway video games is at Madison Square Garden in opposition to the New York Knicks — so the staff is hopeful the consistency of getting Irving again within the lineup complete time will repay.
“Every game has felt ultra-important for the last 20 games, the last month. Me being in and out hasn’t helped in terms of our continuity and guys being in and out of the lineup. I think it’ll definitely give us some consistency,” Irving stated. “But it could finally get us out of this do-or-die game mentality.
“Every sport, everyone seems to be fixated … let me simply name a spade a spade, we are within the 8th spot and we are picked to be contenders. If that isn’t a real testomony to the ability degree we now have in this staff, I do not know what’s. I respect the distinction. But in truth, it takes a little bit bit longer to construct that continuity and we are the usage of those video games and apply time however we are simply going to position our absolute best foot ahead and reside with the effects.