Hall of Famer Dave Bing 'Very Disappointed' in Kyrie Irving's Vaccination Stance

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 19, 2022

Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Dave Bing never won an NBA title during his Hall of Fame career, and now he's upset to see Kyrie Irving potentially waste an opportunity over his decision not to get vaccinated.

"I'm very disappointed in his position," Bing told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. "I respect his position but very disappointed. Because basketball is a team game, team sport. You let your teammates down."

Irving has refused a COVID-19 vaccination, which makes him ineligible to play home games because of restrictions in New York City.

Though the Brooklyn Nets initially prevented him from competing until he was a full-time player, the organization softened its stance and he rejoined the team in January. He has appeared in four games so far this season, averaging 20.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.

Brooklyn has still struggled when Irving is unavailable, going 2-5 in the past seven home games. It's been an even bigger uphill battle with Kevin Durant out with a sprained MCL.

The Nets sit in third place in the Eastern Conference at 27-16, and Irving does not plan to change his mind about the vaccine.

"I've made my decision already and I'm standing on it," he told reporters Monday.

Bing said he would try to convince Irving to change his mind if he were a teammate. 

"I'd let him know, 'I respect the position you've taken, but you put us in a horrible situation,'" the 78-year-old said. "'We planned on your being here, being part of this team to win a championship. Now, you've made a very selfish decision for yourself.'"

James Harden, Patty Mills and others can still lead Brooklyn to the playoffs, but winning a title could be difficult with a shorthanded lineup in key postseason games.