The seven-time All-Star insisted that he is not retiring from the NBA and that his decision not to get vaccinated was "about my life and what I am choosing to do."
"The financial consequences, I know I do not want to even do that," Irving said, per ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk. "But it is reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on a team, I have to be vaccinated. I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice."
Irving said that his decision is "not a political thing," "not about the NBA" and "not about any organization."
On Tuesday, Nets general manager Sean Marks said that Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to become a full participant under local COVID-19 vaccination requirements. New York City's current COVID-19 vaccine mandate requires a person to have proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to enter indoor gyms, including both Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden, home of the Nets and New York Knicks, respectively.
Marks said later that day that Irving's inaction with regards to getting vaccinated left the team "no choice" but to send him away. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks and Tim Bontemps, if Irving misses every game in Brooklyn this season (including preseason games), along with the two regular-season games against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, he could lose over $17 million.