The Warriors can put any concerns about Andrew Wiggins’ status behind them.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr revealed on Oct. 3 that Wiggins has been vaccinated against COVID-19 after the 26-year-old previously expressed skepticism about the vaccine. Last month, the NBA denied Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption, meaning he was not compliant with local guidelines in San Francisco. The Warriors were facing the possibility of playing without one of their starters for half of the season, and Wiggins was staring down significant financial losses.
PACIFIC DIVISION PREVIEW: Win projections, storylines, bold predictions
Now that he has gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, what is Wiggins’ availability for the 2021-22 campaign? And what made him change his mind?
Can Andrew Wiggins play in home games at the Chase Center?
Wiggins will be available to play in all home games this season now that he has been vaccinated. Under San Francisco’s policy, Warriors players are required to provide proof of vaccination before entering the Chase Center. (Visiting players will follow different protocols.)
Had Wiggins remained unvaccinated, he would not have been paid for any games that he missed, potentially leaving millions of dollars on the table. He also would have put Golden State in a difficult position to start the season, as he averaged 18.6 points per game last season, the second-highest mark on the team behind only Stephen Curry (32.0).
Why did Andrew Wiggins change his stance on vaccination?
During his media availability after an Oct. 4 preseason game between the Warriors and Trail Blazers, Wiggins explained his “tough decision” to get vaccinated, telling reporters that he felt there were only two options available to him: Receive the vaccine or don’t play in the NBA.
“It feels good to play, but getting vaccinated, that’s going to be something that stays in my mind for a long time,” Wiggins said. “It’s not something I wanted to do, but I was kind of forced to.”
Wiggins made it clear that he didn’t hold any ill will toward the Warriors, and he appreciated the support of his teammates, especially Draymond Green, who said it was Wiggins’ “personal choice” and would not tell him what to do with his body.
“[The Warriors] didn’t make the rules,” Wiggins said. “But I guess to do certain stuff, to work and all that, I guess you don’t own your body. That’s what it comes down to. If you want to work in society today, then I guess they made the rules of what goes in your body and what you do. Hopefully, there’s a lot of people out there that are stronger than me and keep fighting, stand for what they believe, and hopefully, it works out for them.”
Wiggins also provided some context behind his vaccine hesitancy. He said that he had a “scary” allergic reaction to medication years ago that resulted in him carrying an EpiPen. Despite the Warriors reportedly connecting Wiggins with an Oakland doctor to discuss his concerns about the vaccine, Wiggins is still worried about future health problems.
“I know there’s a lot of people [who] get reactions or injuries from getting the vaccination. Also, I don’t know what it’s going to do to me in 10 years,” Wiggins said. “Gene damage? There’s no studies on whether or not it’s going to cause cancerous cells. I don’t know what it’s going to do to my body. There’s a lot of stuff.
“I feel like I could go on for days about why I didn’t want to get it. Most importantly, I don’t know what’s going to happen or what it’s going to do to my body in 10, 15, 20 years or do to my kids, future kids. But I guess it’s something that I had to get done.”
(Note: None of the COVID-19 vaccines can alter DNA and cause cancer, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.)
Warriors schedule 2021-22
(All times Eastern)
|Date||Opponent||Time / Result||National TV|
|Oct. 19||at Lakers||W, 121-114||TNT|
|Oct. 21||vs. Clippers||10 p.m.||TNT|
|Oct. 24||at Kings||9 p.m.||—|
|Oct. 26||at Thunder||8 p.m.||—|
|Oct. 28||vs. Grizzlies||10 p.m.||—|
|Oct. 30||vs. Thunder||8:30 p.m.||—|
|Nov. 3||vs. Hornets||10 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nov. 5||vs. Pelicans||10 p.m.||ESPN|
|Nov. 7||vs. Rockets||8:30 p.m.||—|
|Nov. 8||vs. Hawks||10 p.m.||—|