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Andrew Wiggins is an NBA champion. But he still regrets getting vaccinated

The Golden State Warriors forward initially sought a religious exemption to San Francisco’s vaccine mandate, but it was denied

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Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) dunks against the Boston Celtics during the second half of Game 5 of basketball’s NBA Finals in San Francisco, Monday, June 13, 2022.

Jed Jacobsohn, Associated Press

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has a lot to celebrate from the 2021-22 season. Among other things, he helped his team beat the Boston Celtics to win the NBA championship last month and was named an All-Star.

But Wiggins, who played for the Minnesota Timberwolves before being traded to the Warriors in 2020, does have one major regret from the season: He wishes he hadn’t caved to pressure to get his COVID-19 vaccine.

“I still wish I didn’t get it, to be honest with you,” he told FanSided on Monday.

Although the NBA did not impose a vaccine mandate on players, the city of San Francisco did. Without a medical or religious exemption from the city’s policy, Wiggins would have had to sit out home games if he refused the vaccine.

Wiggins did seek a religious exemption, but the NBA refused to back him. “The NBA has reviewed and denied Andrew Wiggins’ request for religious exemption. ... Wiggins will not be able to play in Warriors home games until he fulfills the city’s vaccination requirements,” league officials said in a Sept. 24 statement.

Days later, Warriors coach Steve Kerr shared that Wiggins had chosen to get vaccinated, as the Deseret News reported at the time.

Wiggins was able to play with the Warriors throughout the season, unlike fellow vaccine skeptic Kyrie Irving, who missed dozens of Brooklyn Nets home games.

During the FanSided interview, the 27-year-old Wiggins acknowledged that getting vaccinated enabled him to have “the best year of (his) career,” but he said he’s still frustrated that San Francisco’s policy forced his hand and worried about his health.

“I just don’t like putting all that stuff in my body, so I didn’t like that and I didn’t like that it wasn’t my choice,” he said. “I didn’t like that it was either get this or don’t play.”