De Blasio made it clear Irving won't be allowed to play Brooklyn Nets home games if he remains unvaccinated
New York City — Another "Bill" named Belichick, not de Blasio, once recalled having to start practice late due to Lawrence Taylor's late arrival. Bellichick, then an assistant with the NY Giants, asked head coach Parcells what to do about the star linebacker.
"Start practice later, then, after Taylor shows up!" Parcells barked. He then added: after practice, hint to Taylor's fellow linebackers, each time the superstar shows up late — they'll be the ones getting fined.
Problem solved. ...
Belichick says that taught him a valuable lesson, a lesson best summed up by legendary coach John Wooden: “It isn't what you do, but how you do it" that counts.
Mayor de Blasio going on national news and telling Kyrie Irving to "get vaccinated, [because] your fans want to see you" probably didn't do Nets' fans any favors. As a testy commenter posted: "We're thirsty for a championship [in NY] & now the mayor wants to bash our star guard. Sheesh."
Irving — one of the best basketball players in the world — is known for his moody, erratic behavior. Holding his feet to the fire, publically, may only serve to intensify the already heated standoff. Though most experts project the Nets will finally bring NYC a championship parade, after a forty-year drought, de Blasio's concerns lie elsewhere.
He told CNN:
We have a rule that has to be applied, whether you're famous, whether you're not famous, you know, whether you're everyday working man or woman – get vaccinated because that's what makes us all safe.
Judging by Irving's controversial "mask-off" tweet, the mayor's comments most likely won't go over well.
Perhaps de Blasio's message would've resonated more had he personally reached out to the Nets' mercurial superstar. Or, better yet, de Blasio could've torn a page from Parcells' playbook.
"Put the onus on Kevin Durant and Harden," I could hear the legendary Giants coach saying. After all, such an approach would — in all likelihood — prove more effective than blasting a star athlete in the media.
Irving didn't show up in person with his teammates to Nets' media day, due to the city's COVID-19 regulations. And now, with Mayor de Blasio holding his feet to the fire, Nets fans hope Irving shows up for Brooklyn's 41 home games this season.
If not, New York City's long, long NBA championship drought will continue.
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