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Kyrie Irving will sit courtside, maskless, to watch Nets game Sunday he can’t play in

After Kevin Durant and the Nets defeated former Brooklyn teammate James Harden and the Sixers Thursday night, Michael Holley and Michael Smith discuss the impact this game will have for each team's star players.

Saturday night, Kyrie Irving sat maskless inside the Barclays Center to watch his alma mater Duke play Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament. That is legal and allowed under current New York City health policy.

On Sunday, he will sit courtside — again maskless — to watch his Nets teammates take on the Knicks in a game he is not allowed to play in due to New York City’s remaining private sector vaccine mandate.

Whatever you think of Irving’s decision not to get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine that has saved lives, there is a serious flaw in the way a mandate works if Irving can sit in a building and watch a game he can’t play in.

New York Mayor Eric Adams lifted part of the vaccine mandate, allowing people to go to indoor dining or events — such as a Nets game — without showing proof of vaccination. He also lifted the mask mandate for schools and other indoor spaces. However, he left in place the private sector mandate requiring employees to be vaccinated to work in these buildings. That still ices Irving out of playing at home.

Whether that part of the vaccine mandate will be lifted by the time the playoffs start next month will have a considerable impact on how dangerous the Nets are with a play-in and potentially playoff team (as will other basketball-related factors, such as if Ben Simmons is playing and how he fits in with his new team in a pressure situation).