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Kyrie Irving Is Returning To The NBA — After He Gets Out of Health And Safety Protocols

The unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets star has been unable to play this season, but he's on the way back.

After sitting out the first part of the season because of his vaccination status, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is slated to make his NBA debut soon. The team, which previously said they had no interest in Irving being a part time player, has reversed its decision and wants the NBA champion to rejoin its roster.

While upwards of 95 percent of NBA players have been vaccinated, according to the league, Irving is not, which contradicts a New York City mandate that requires both employees and fans to show proof of vaccination before entering the city's arenas. During an explanation for his choice to sit out, Irving — who has espoused controversial opinions in the past — said he wanted to be a voice for those skeptical about the vaccine.

“It’s not about being anti-vax or about being on one side or the other. It’s about being true to what feels good for me," Irving said back in October during an Instagram Live video. "I’m still uncertain about a lot of things. And that’s okay. If I’m going to be demonized about having more questions and taking my time to make a decision with my life, then that’s just what it is.”

Despite his insistence that he's not an anti-vaxxer, Irving has garnered praise from Right Wingers who champion his decision to remain unprotected against the coronavirus. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who criticized the NBA for championing Black Lives Matter and other social causes, tweeted his support for Irving and other unvaccinated players, while controversial Conservative firebrand Candice Owens claimed the media was "after" people like Irving who refused the vaccine.

Like many teams across the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets have recently had several players enter the league's health and safety protocols, which requires players who test positive for Covid-19 to quarantine for 10 days or until they return two negative Covid tests more than 24 hours apart. After the Nets announced they were welcoming Irving back for road games, the all-NBA player entered the NBA's health and safety protocols alongside his star teammates Kevin Durant and James Harden.

It remains to be seen when Irving will hit the court this season, but the anticipation for his return is at an all-time high and has many picking the Nets to be one of teams contending for an NBA championship this season.

For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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