By Girald Gaston

PHOTO: Getty Images

A great present on Kyrie Irving’s 30th birthday.

After months of doubt that he’d play full time, Irving will finally be cleared to play inside the Brooklyn Nets’ home floor Barclays Center, as the state of New York relaxes the COVID-19 vaccine mandate of the private sector effective on Thursday.

NYC’s modified mandate will let unvaccinated athletes and performers, like Irving, to have an exemption in their workplace – a bright ray of light he and the Nets have been waiting all season long.

The 6-foot-3 guard has been on a tear in his last four games, averaging 43.8 points on a highly-efficient 61.7% shooting, but his superb offensive display happened all on the road, and he was unable to help the struggling Brooklyn squad at home.

However, things are bound to change now as he finally returns at Barclays Center on Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets, to help his team improve from a dismal 16-19 slate in front of their home crowd.

The addition of Irving at home will bolster the depleted Nets squad, which heavily relies on Kevin Durant’s heroics, without the service of key pieces Joe Harris and Ben Simmons.

With only nine games remaining on their regular-season schedule, Brooklyn will look to improve their 38-35 overall record with the “full-time” version of the 7-11 duo of Durant and Irving, only 3.5 games back on the playoff-secured sixth-seed.

Edited by Jostle Doen Pilayre