NBA will not have COVID-19 vaccine mandate for 2022-23 season, per report

While the NBA still strongly suggests that all players, coaches and employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the league will not introduce a vaccine mandate for the upcoming season. According to Yahoo Sports. Unvaccinated players may be subject to periodic testing, however, pending discussions with the National Basketball Players Association.

This is in line with the NBA’s health and safety policies from last season, when vaccine requirements were left to local cities and states. Players were not required to be vaccinated, but were required to follow local guidelines, and unvaccinated players were subject to more stringent testing and restrictions.

Most players chose to get vaccinated, and the league boasted a 95% vaccination rate last season. Even Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who was initially against the vaccine, opted to welcome it to home play in the Bay Area.

There were still some notable strongholds, however. Philadelphia 76ers forward Matisse Thybulle was unable to play in Games 3, 4, and 6 of the first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors because he was not vaccinated and therefore could not enter Canada.

And, of course, there was Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. His refusal to get the shot caused the Nets to send him home for the first half of the season, and he didn’t play until January 5, when the team changed tacks. Even so, he was only eligible to play away from home and appeared sporadically until March 27, when he finally made his home debut after New York suspended certain local mandates.

Irving technically “won” the vaccine impasse, but his vaccine saga played a major role in disrupting the Nets’ temporary super team. Irving helped kick James Harden out of town, underperforming as the Nets were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round and is now stuck in the final year of his contract because the team was wary of giving him a long-term extension. He might even end up being traded depending on what happens with Kevin Durant’s trade request.

Most states, including California and New York, have already lifted vaccine requirements to participate in major events, and the vast majority of the league is vaccinated, so there shouldn’t be any major issues along the lines of Irving’s upcoming season. However, vaccination against COVID-19 is still required to enter Canada, so any unvaccinated players will not be able to play away games against the Raptors unless the country changes its rules.

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