No hugs allowed: Security stops Kyrie Irving and Bam Adebayo from exchanging jerseys

Liz Roscher
·1-min read

The NBA is serious about its COVID-19 restrictions. They don’t want players from opposing teams having any close contact before or after games — like hugging or shaking hands — and those rules are being enforced.

We saw that in action on Saturday night. After the Brooklyn Nets beat the Miami Heat 128-124, Kyrie Irving and Bam Adebayo tried to get together for the now-traditional show of friendship and/or respect between opponents: the hug and jersey exchange. They didn’t get far before they were thwarted by a member of the Heat security team, who intervened to break up their friendly conversation.

You can see Adebayo lifting his jersey to take it off before getting led away by the security guy, leaving Irving gesturing in confusion. As the announcers said, those are the rules now. After several weeks with numerous COVID-19 postponements, the NBA isn’t messing around — at least with pre- and postgame contact. Close contact between sweaty, heavy-breathing players during games? The NBA is totally fine with that.

Despite being stopped by security, both players still want to do an exchange. During Adebayo’s postgame news conference, he told the media “I’ll give Kyrie the jersey on my own time.” Hopefully players will figure out a way to do it that doesn’t require security to come over and break them up.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 23:  Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat reacts after he thought there should have been a foul against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 23, 2021 in New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Bam Adebayo and Kyrie Irving weren't allowed to exchange jerseys after the Nets beat the Heat on Saturday night. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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