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Wiggins: Options were 'get vaccinated or not play in the NBA'

Melissa Majchrzak / National Basketball Association / Getty

Golden State Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins said his choice about whether to get vaccinated for COVID-19 became a straightforward one in spite of his personal beliefs.

"I feel like my only option was to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA," Wiggins told The Athletic's Anthony Slater on Monday.

Wiggins was hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine - the failure to do so would have prohibited him from participating in Warriors home games and practices due to local mandates in San Francisco.

The 26-year-old applied for a religious exemption, which the league denied.

"It was a tough decision. Hopefully, in 10 years it works out and I'm still healthy," Wiggins said.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr confirmed Sunday that Wiggins got vaccinated and is eligible to play in the Warriors' home opener versus the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 19.

"It's not something I wanted to do. But I was kind of forced into it ... I guess to do certain stuff and to work, you don't own your body. Hopefully, there's people who are stronger than me and keep fighting for what they believe in," Wiggins added.

The NBA announced last week that individuals unable to play in home markets with local vaccine mandates like San Francisco and New York City will forfeit their pay for games missed. Wiggins, who's entering the fourth season of a five-year, $147-million deal, would have forfeited $15.8 million in salary this season as a result.

"I had COVID before, and it wasn't too bad," Wiggins said. "A couple of years ago I had an allergic reaction to something. It was a scary moment and I carry an EpiPen now. I know a lot of people get reactions or injuries from getting the vaccination, also I don't know what it's going to do to me in 10 years in terms of gene damage."

He added: "There are no studies on whether or not it's going to cause cancerous cells, so I don't know what (the vaccine) is going to do to my body.

"No one in my family is vaccinated. It's not really something we believe in. I didn't want to get the vaccination. It's not something I wanted to do."

The NBA reached a 95% vaccination standard for its players last Thursday, which represents an increase since training camps opened, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

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