Kyrie Irving attended his first home game of the season, but it cost the Brooklyn Nets a $50,000 fine.
The NBA said the Nets organization violated the local New York City law and league health and safety protocols after allowing the unvaccinated Irving to enter the team’s locker room.
Nets coach Steve Nash confirmed that Irving joined the team in the locker room during halftime and postgame.
“[Irving] didn’t have a message for us. He was just there sitting with his teammates,” Nash said.
Irving was able to attend the Nets’ home game in person after New York City Mayor Eric Adams relaxed on the vaccine mandate allowing unvaccinated people to enter public events venues. Previously, Irving was only restricted to entering and practicing at the HSS Training Center, the Nets’ practice facility in Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant, who carried the Nets offense with a season-high 53 points and nine assists in 43 minutes in Irving’s absence, called out New York City Mayor Eric Adams to lift the private sector mandate, which prohibits unvaccinated employees from working in New York-based businesses.
But just minutes after the Nets were fined, Durant released a statement backtracking from his strong words against Adams.
“The last two years have been a difficult and painful time for New Yorkers, as well as a very confusing time with the changing landscape of the rules and mandates. I do appreciate the task the Mayor (Eric Adams) has in front of him with all the city has been through. My frustration with the situation doesn’t change the fact that I will always be committed to helping communities and cities I live in and play in,” Durant said in a statement released through the Nets PR.
Irving is scheduled to return to action Wednesday when the Nets visit the Orlando Magic in Florida. The Nets’ superstar point guard is only eligible to play three more road games for the remainder of the regular season.
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