Michael Jordan faced criticism during his playing career for his apolitical views, but the NBA legend didn’t hesitate to share a strong stance on the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
During an interview with Craig Melvin on Monday’s edition of the “TODAY” show, Jordan discussed the challenge of teams avoiding COVID-19 cases and staying healthy throughout the 2021-22 season. When asked by Melvin if he was concerned about the rules for players and personnel, the Hornets owner firmly replied, “Not at all.”
“I am totally in unison with the league,” Jordan said. “I think everybody has been speaking about vaccinations. I’m a firm believer in science, and I’m gonna stick with that. Hopefully everybody abides by whatever the league sets the rules. I think that, once everybody buys in, we’re gonna be fine.”
While 95 percent of NBA players have reportedly been vaccinated, one of the biggest storylines of the preseason has been the status of Nets star Kyrie Irving, who remains unvaccinated ahead of Brooklyn’s regular-season opener. Knowing that Irving will not be eligible to play at home until he is compliant with the local guidelines in New York City, the Nets announced Tuesday that Irving will not play or practice with the team at all until he is “eligible to be a full participant.”
Though he didn’t specifically address the Irving situation in Brooklyn, Jordan noted that how organizations handle COVID-19 issues will play a significant role in team success this season.
“Whoever stays healthy, whoever can battle the COVID-19 issues that they may have in the course of the year, it’s gonna give that team the best chance,” Jordan said. “So, staying healthy is our biggest thing for [the Hornets]. We’ve gotta stay healthy.”
Outside of the conversation surrounding COVID-19, Jordan also spoke about being a NASCAR team owner, Bubba Wallace’s first NASCAR Cup Series win and why he has donated so much money to charities in recent years. You can watch Melvin’s full interview with Jordan below. (The conversation about the upcoming NBA season begins around the 3:15 mark.)
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