Kyrie Irving finally broke his silence — and essentially confirmed his holdout.

The Brooklyn Nets superstar spoke to over 100,000 fans on Instagram Live last night about his decision not to get vaccinated. One day earlier, the team said that he will be sidelined until he’s “eligible” to play — meaning either a vax shot or a change to New York’s state mandate.

There will be massive repercussions on and off the floor, including a hit to his checkbook — and to governing owner Joe Tsai’s bottom line.

  • Last season, Brooklyn went 36-18 in the 54 games Irving played, and 6-2 in regular-season games with The Big Three.
  • He became the ninth player in NBA history to shoot 50% FG, 40% 3PT, and 90% FT, and he leads the Nets in career PPG and FG%.
  • James Harden will run point, but the newly acquired Patty Mills will have big shoes to fill in an increased role.

Irving is owed $35.1 million this season — 20% of the team’s salary — and will surrender $16 million for the home games he’s missing. He’s also due for an extension worth up to $185 million, bringing his total potential loss to more than $200 million.

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“You think I really want to lose money?” Irving asked rhetorically. “You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after a championship… to give up my job?”

If he does, one of the most anticipated seasons in Nets history — and a potential ring — could be in jeopardy.

 

Alex Ovechkin is already widely considered the greatest goal-scorer in NHL history — now all he needs to do now is make it official by catching Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record.

On Wednesday, the Capitals’ captain scored twice to move into fifth place on the all-time career goals list in Washington’s season-opening 5-1 win over the Rangers.

At his current pace, the Great Eight (732) will likely bypass the Great One’s tally (894), but by several metrics he’s actually superior.

  • Ovechkin has averaged 45.6 goals during his career, while Gretzky averaged 44.7.
  • His 0.611 goals per game rank sixth all-time — better than Gretzky’s 0.601 — and he’s played more games than anyone above him.
  • It was Ovechkin’s 150th multi-goal game, the fourth to reach that mark behind Gretzky (189), Brett Hull (158), and Mario Lemieux (154).
  • Ovi’s power-play goal gave him 270 for his career, four behind Dave Andreychuk for most in NHL history (Gretzky is 17th with 204).

If he catches Gretzky, he’ll do it with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2004. The Russian inked a five-year, $47.5 million deal in July that will keep him in D.C. through the 2025-26 season.

The 36-year-old needs to average 33 goals over the next five seasons. He’ll pass Hull (741) for fourth soon, and will likely top Jaromir Jagr (766) later this season.

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