The Perfect Enemy | Warriors’ Wiggins says he regrets taking COVID vaccine
August 17, 2022
Read Time:2 Minute

If becoming a first-time All-Star, winning an NBA title and rehabilitating your image out of the toilet aren’t enough to convince you that getting vaccinated is worth it, nothing ever will.

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins did all of those things this season. But even acknowledging that none of it would have been possible without taking a COVID-19 vaccine first, he still regrets getting the shot. 

“I still wish I didn’t get it,” he said at the end of an otherwise lighthearted FanSided interview.

“I did it, and I was an All-Star this year and champion, so that was the good part, just not missing out on the year, the best year of my career,” he added. “But for my body, I just don’t like putting all that stuff in my body, so I didn’t like that and I didn’t like that it wasn’t my choice. I didn’t like that it was either get this or don’t play.”

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Wiggins is referring to a slow-rolling controversy that threatened to derail the Warriors’ season before it even began. Local San Francisco regulations required all players to be vaccinated to play home games, and Wiggins was revealed as the only unvaccinated Warrior in September. After spending a week making it very clear he didn’t want the shot, Wiggins grudgingly took the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine right before the season started. 

It was a lucrative decision for Wiggins, who had by far the best season of his career and is now closing in on a massive payday for it. (And that’s without mentioning the obvious health benefits of vaccination for him and everyone around him.)

And the Kyrie Irving saga in Brooklyn proved just how untenable it was for a key player on an NBA contender to be partially or wholly unavailable instead of getting vaccinated. The Nets initially banished Irving, even though he would have been eligible for road games. His stance at least partly led to James Harden requesting a trade, blowing up the superteam Nets before they even started.

Though teammates like Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green defended his vaccine stance, the most important Warriors made it clear that Wiggins should get vaccinated. “Acceptable is a strong word,” Steph Curry said when asked about Wiggins’ initial refusal. “It’s not ideal.”

Maybe, then, that’s the beauty of a mandate. It’s unconcerned with hearts and minds and strictly affects wallets and access. Wiggins would have lost about $15 million if he missed every Warriors home game, and more if the Dubs banished him Nets-style. That’s before accounting for the enormous contract he earned with his play this year.

The entire interview is worth watching, if only for the spectacular transition after Wiggins’ anti-vaccine comments. After Wiggins explains that he wishes he didn’t get the vaccine, the stunned interviewer responds with, “You chose hoop, at the end of the day,” and then asks Wiggins about an orthodontics product he’s endorsing.