With the conjecture surrounding the COVID 19 vaccine in the NBA reaching fever pitch, many players are now having to choose as to whether they want to opt in or opt out of America's vaccine programme.
Regardless of the morality involved, some states have legislated that athletes are forbidden to train/play professional sport if they are not vaccinated. One of the states implementing this ruling is New York - one of the worst affected areas in America throughout the pandemic.
Consequently, any unvaccinated NBA players are unable to take part in regular season games in New York and one of the highest profile of those is Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving.
The Brooklyn Nets have announced that while they respect Irving's right to decide whether he wants to be vaccinated, they are not currently considering him for selection due to his unvaccinated status.
As the debate rumbles on, we delve into Kyrie Irving and discuss the 7 things you need to know about the Brooklyn Nets star:
Irving was the Number One Draft Pick
Back in 2011, Irving was tearing it up for his college team Duke and was given a 97 out of 100 scout report rating by ESPN - a score so high it was practically unheard of. So, it was no surprise that then struggling Cleveland Cavaliers opted to take a punt on a then 19-year old Irving and add him to their roster.
He is an American Gold Medal winning Olympian
The 2016 US men's basketball team tasted glory at the Olympic Games in Rio di Janeiro and Irving was a huge part of their success. Unsurprisingly, the US are currently as short as 1/2 to win the title again at Paris 2024 - having clinched it most recently at Tokyo 2020.
Could have been an Aussie....
Irving was actually born in Melbourne, Australia and moved to the US at the tender age of just 2. He holds dual citizenship passports but has always stated his intention to represent the US nationally.
7 x All-Star
Ever since he first broke on to the NBA scene back in 2011, Irving has long been tipped for greatness and he made his first NBA All Star game appearance back in 2013. Six more All Star appearances have followed - putting him on a par with some of the greats of the game.
Nets to go all the way?
Despite Irving's anticipated absence, the Brooklyn Nets are still the favorites with many bookmakers to clinch the NBA Championship. The Nets are 5/2 with Bet Victor to end the season as NBA champions.
Kings of the East?
Closer to home, the Brooklyn Nets have recruited shrewdly again this season and they are the hot favourites to clinch the Eastern Conference title. At 5/4 with William Hill to win the conference, they look too good for the competition this term.
Irving for MVP?
With speculation as to whether Irving will be taking an active part in the NBA season at fever pitch, he looks a long shot to be crowned the NBA MVP for the first time in his career. At 40/1 with Bet 365, he will need to hit the ground running if/when he returns to the court.