Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if he wants to play home games this season.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health confirmed in a statement to Eric Ting of SF Gate that the policy requiring "all patrons 12 and older" to be vaccinated to attend "large and mega indoor events" in the city also applies to "performers and players employed by the host":
"Under the current order, if unvaccinated, they cannot enter indoor areas regardless of the reason they are unvaccinated and cannot test out of this requirement even if they have a medical or religious exemption. This same rule applies to performers and players employed by the host at large and mega indoor events who are covered by the vaccination requirements of the Health Order."
The NBA subsequently issued a statement saying it reviewed and denied Wiggins' request for a religious exemption:
ESPN's Nick Friedell reported on Thursday that Wiggins remains unvaccinated after saying earlier this year he wouldn't take the vaccine unless it was mandated.
Wiggins made his comment about the vaccine while speaking to reporters in March.
"I don’t really see myself getting it any time soon, unless I’m forced to," he said.
The vaccination status of NBA players in San Francisco and New York City has become a major talking point leading up to the start of training camp next week.
Both cities have adopted a policy that requires a proof of vaccine for indoor events. New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry told reporters today that the entire organization, including players and coaches, have been vaccinated.
That leaves the Warriors and Brooklyn Nets in a potential situation where they might be without players and/or coaches who have yet to receive their vaccine shot(s).
Nets general manager Sean Marks told reporters earlier this week if the season started right now they would be without "a couple people," but he remains "confident" that it won't be an issue long after camp begins.
Since the Warriors are expecting to be without Klay Thompson for at least the first two months of the season as he continues to rehab his torn Achilles, Wiggins' presence in the starting lineup will be crucial early in the year.
Expectations are high for Wiggins coming into this season. The former No. 1 overall pick is coming off an excellent 2020-21 campaign. He averaged 18.6 points per game on a career-high 47.7 percent shooting percentage (38.0 from three-point range) and was one of the most improved defensive players in the NBA.