Shaquille O’Neal wouldn’t play with Kyrie Irving: ‘If you’re on my team and you can’t play home games, I don’t want you around’

Peter Dewey
2 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal shared his thoughts on Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s decision to not receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this point.

O’Neal, a Hall of Famer and four-time NBA champion, revealed that he would not want to play with Irving based on his status.

“I try not to belittle another man’s opinion,” O’Neal said. “However, let me tell you what I think. In this game of ours, sometimes you have to think about other people rather than yourself. Now, Kyrie has his views. He has his opinions. I’m not going to knock that, but he does have an obligation, because he took that 200 million.

“Only thing I don’t like is, ‘Oh, can you, you know, respect my privacy?’ Once you sign up for this life, there is no privacy, and you have to accept it.

“But if you’re on my team and you can’t play home games, I don’t want you around. Like, we have a chance to win and if you ain’t on the program, go somewhere else, period. Hey, whatever your reasons are, cool, I’m with that, but we ain’t gonna be going back and forth for 41 games whether you gonna play or not. Get your a– up outta here.”

The Nets are expected to be one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this season with Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden on the roster.

However, as O’Neal points out, Irving would miss every Nets home game if he remains unvaccinated because of New York’s restrictions.

The Nets have plenty of talent to get by without Irving at times, but they may struggle in the postseason if he can only suit up when the team is on the road.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.