NBA’s Andrew Wiggins on getting vaccinated: ‘Not something I wanted to do’

"Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I'm still healthy," said Wiggins.

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Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has spoken out about being forced to choose between his job or getting vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Earlier this year the Canadian basketball player made clear that he didn’t want to take the jab but Warriors head coach Steve Kerr confirmed on Sunday that the athlete had received the vaccine. Wiggins confirmed as much after the Warriors’ 121-107 preseason opener win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, CNN reports.

“I feel like the only options [were] to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” Wiggins said. “It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I’m still healthy.”

Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors (Credit: Getty Images)

Wiggins had requested the option to not take the COVID-19 vaccine, citing religious reasons, theGRIO reported. The NBA denied his request, according to CBS Sports.

“The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’ request for religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all participants age 12 and older at large indoor events. Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements.”

“Under the current order, if unvaccinated, they cannot enter indoor areas regardless of the reason they are unvaccinated and cannot test out of this requirement even if they have a medical or religious exemption,” the San Francisco Department of Public Health said in a statement.

The NBA’s 2021-2022 season begins in September, and COVID-19-related regulations are being enforced in the cities of New York and San Francisco. Despite there not being a league-wide mandate for players to get vaccinated, the NBA has singled out those two specific cities, which affect the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors.

Wiggins has been playing with Golden State for the past two seasons. According to Spotrac, he is scheduled to make $31.5M for the 2021-2022 NBA season. His vaccination status follows reports that Lakers star LeBron James also got fully vaccinated after having his own skepticism about the shot. 

Lebron James
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands on the court in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first half at Staples Center on February 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

“I know that for me I can speak about myself,” James said at his team’s media day last month, Sports Illustrated reports. “I think everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family, and things of that nature. I know that I was very [skeptical] about it all, but after doing my research, and things of that nature, I felt like it was best suited for not only me but for my family and for my friends, and that’s why I decided to do it.”

Last December, then US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams asked the Lakers superstar to “take the shot” to help convince others to do the same, theGRIO reported

Adams said during an appearance on KTLA 5 that he hoped James, who has a school in his native Akron, Ohio, and has been a vocal leader in the social justice movement, would “take the shot” to encourage others, especially African Americans, to do the same.

According to reports, 90% of the league is vaccinated. The NBA has warned unvaccinated players who do not comply with President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandates that they will not be paid for games they miss.

This article has additional reporting from theGRIO’s Matthew Allen.

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