The NBA have imposed regulations on unvaccinated players ahead of the new season, and their actions have been backed by one of basketball’s all-time great players
Basketball legend Michael Jordan says he is a “firm believer in science” after the NBA announced stringent regulations for unvaccinated players.
The new NBA season starts on October 19, and the build-up has been dominated by furore surrounding the vaccine, with Brooklyn Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving one high profile star to opt out of getting jabbed.
The regulations stop short of making the vaccine mandatory in order for individuals to be eligible for games, but referees and other staff who have close contact with the players are required to be fully vaccinated.
However, league officials, who have stated 95% of players have taken at least one vaccine – have forced unvaccinated players to comply with a stringent list of restrictions to be involved in games and even team practice.
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Jordan, 58, who famously won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and now owns the Charlotte Hornets, said the rules will work once “everybody buys in.”
Speaking on NBC’s Today show Jordan, who was also voted the league’s MVP on five occasions, was asked if he had concerns over the protocols.
“Not at all. I’m total in unison with the league,” he answered.
“I’m a firm believer in science and I’m going to stick with that and hopefully everybody abides by whatever the league sets the rules.
“I think once everybody buys in, we’re going to be fine.”
Jordan’s comments come after another NBA hall-of famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, called for punishments for those who opt out of the vaccine.
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” said the 74-year-old.
“There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their team-mates, the staff and the fans.”
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The issue is particularly complex in New York City and San Francisco, where there are city mandates in place that make full vaccination compulsory for indoor events.
It’s a policy that adversely affects the Knicks, Nets and Golden State Warriors, and the NBA said in September that players who do not comply with vaccination mandates are not entitled to be paid for the games they are forced to miss.
“Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” said NBA spokesperson Mike Bass.