NBA star Kyrie Irving has broken his silence since the Brooklyn Nets decided they would not accommodate him as a part-time player over of his refusal to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Nets point guard made clear he was not retiring as he explained why he wasn't yet vaccinated.
"It's reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on the team I have to be vaccinated," Irving told his 100,000 viewers on an Instagram live session.
"I chose to be unvaccinated. And that was my choice. And I would ask y'all just to respect that choice.
"I'm staying grounded in what I believe in.
"It's not about being anti-vax or about being on one side or the other. It's about being true to what feels good for me.
"I'm still uncertain about a lot of things. And that's ok. If I'm going to be demonised about having more questions and taking my time to make a decision with my life, then that's just what it is."
A New York City mandate requires professional athletes playing for a team in the city have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to play or practice in public venues.
The Nets announced Tuesday that Irving would not play or practice with them until he could be a full participant, ending the idea that he would play in only road games.
"Kyrie's made it clear that he has a choice in this matter and it's ultimately going to be up to him what he decides," Nets general manager Sean Marks said. "We respect the fact that he has a choice, he can make his own and right now what's best for the organization is the path that we're taking."
Marks wouldn't predict how long Irving would be away from the team or get into whether the team would consider trying to trade him.
The league had said that players wouldn't be paid for games they miss because they are ineligible to play but Marks said Irving would still be paid for road games.
Irving still stands to lose around NZD$22 million this season but said it "wasn't about the money".
"It's about choosing what's best for you," he said. "You think I really want to lose money? You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after a championship? You think I really just want to give up my job? You think I really just want to sit at home and not go after the things with my teammates that I've been able to grow with, to learn with? … You think I want to give up my livelihood because of a mandate? Because I don't have accommodations? Because I'm unvaccinated? Come on. I'm not going to be used as a person in this agenda.
"It's not about the Nets. It's not about the organisation. It's not about the NBA. It's not politics.
"It's not any one thing that I'm pinpointing. It's just about the freedom of what I want to do."