Andrew Wiggins and the Warriors are facing a decision point. If he is unvaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 13, he will not be allowed to play in games at Chase Center until he becomes fully vaccinated.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health said Friday in a statement that its vaccine mandate will bar any unvaccinated person — patron or player — over the age of 12 from attending “large or mega indoor events” like Warriors games in the 18,064-seat arena. The NBA itself denied his request for a religious exemption Friday afternoon.
The league’s statement was direct, reading in part, “Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements.”
Wiggins stated in March that he was not vaccinated and did not plan to receive the vaccine unless he was backed into a corner.
“I don’t really see myself getting it anytime soon unless I’m forced to somehow,” he told reporters in a news conference. “Other than that, I’m good.”
But the team’s ire if he misses 41 of the Warriors’ 82 games this year may be a force he cannot withstand, even if he is willing to forgo half of his game checks.
The forward has not declared recently whether he is still unvaccinated, but the San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this week that the Warriors are concerned he will not be eligible to play.
The Warriors did not respond by press time to an email or call seeking comment for this story.
Wiggins, the first overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Cavaliers, spent his first full season with the Warriors in 2020-21 and was the team’s best perimeter defender with Klay Thompson out for a second straight season due to injury. While Steph Curry carried the Warriors by leading the league in scoring (32 points per game), Wiggins was second on the team with 18.6 points per game. He started 71 of the season’s 72 games, the most of any Golden State player.
That’s all in jeopardy now.