NBA analyst Charles Barkley late Tuesday weighed in on vaccine hesitancy and basketball star Kyrie Irving's decision to remain unvaccinated, foregoing the chance to play with the Brooklyn Nets.
"First of all, you don't get the vaccine for yourself. You get it for other people," Barkley said on "NBA on TNT."
"You don't get vaccinated just for yourself. You get vaccinated for your family, first. You get vaccinated for your teammates, second. Things like that. That's what bothered me about this whole thing. I think everybody should get vaccinated," the Hall of Famer said, adding that that he has been an advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine, is vaccinated himself and is looking forward to getting a booster shot.
Barkley also voiced concerns that Irving will still get paid during his suspension.
The Nets suspended Irving, their star point guard, last week after he refused to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability," the team's general manager, Sean Marks, said at the time. "It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice."
Irving defended his decision in a video posted to Instagram last week, saying "everybody is entitled to do what they feel is what’s best for themselves."
Barkley on Tuesday also blasted people who have compared Irving to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who refused to serve in the Vietnam War.
"If [Irving] wants to go on this thing like you know people say 'He's like Ali.' First of all, don't ever compare anybody to Ali. Ali, he went three years without boxing when he was the highest-paid athlete in the world. This guy going to make $17 million for sitting at home. But for every person I say, you don't get vaccinated just for yourself. Let's get that out the way."