The Brooklyn Nets topped the Boston Celtics, 141-126 in Game 4 of their best-of-7 series, which gives the Nets a commanding 3-1 lead, however, following the win, Irving didn’t spend any time talking about the game itself during media availability.
Thanks to one ignorant Celtics fan.
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Irving spent over eight minutes fielding questions about the belligerent spectator who tossed a water bottle at him as the All-Star point guard was making his way into the tunnel following the win.
Kyrie Irving On Fans Treating NBA Players: ‘They’re in a Human Zoo’
“It’s unfortunate that sports has come to a lot of this kind of crossroads where you’re seeing a lot of old ways come up,” Irving said after Sunday’s win over the Celtics. “It’s been that way in history in terms of entertainment, performers, and sports for a long period of time. Underlying racism and just treating people like they’re in a human zoo. You know, throwing stuff at people, saying things, there’s just a certain point where it comes to be too much.”
Unfortunately, this sort of incident involving Irving and a Celtics fan is becoming a pattern in the NBA, of late. Last week, a Philadelphia 76ers fan threw popcorn onto Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook before Westbrook attempted to confront the fan.
Then, later in the week, three Utah Jazz fans were banned indefinitely for making vulgar and racist remarks to Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant and his family.
“I called it out. I just wanted to keep it strictly basketball,” Irving added. “But, people just feel very entitled out here. They pay for their tickets, great. I’m grateful that they’re coming in to watch a great performance. But, we’re not at the theater. We’re not throwing tomatoes and other random stuff at the people performing. It’s too much, and it’s a reflection on us as a whole when you have fans acting like that.
Hopefully, people learn their lessons from being banned for however many years of being arrested. But, there’s always going to be an occasion.”
Kyrie Irving On Fan Throwing Water Bottle: ‘Anything Could Have Happened’
Did the fan yell anything toward you before or after tossing the water bottle?
“It doesn’t matter, honestly,” Irving replied. “These actions are historically relative when you think about where we’ve come as a sport. It used to happen back in the day, a lot of older players went through it. And any great person, great entertainer, performer understands that when you’re achieving something bigger than yourself, you’re going to have a lot of adversity, animosity, and you just have to figure out a way to deal with it. Tonight, I think we collectively dealt with it. Anything could have happened with that water bottle being thrown at me.
“But, my brothers were surrounded around me, I have people in the crowd. Just trying to get home to my wife and my kids.”
Irving: ‘We Don’t Get Treated Like We Have Rights’
As the Nets and Celtics prepare for Game 5 in Brooklyn, Tuesday, Kyrie urges people to do their homework, and learn about the history behind the kind of incident that occurred at TD Garden.
“We keep saying things like “We’re human, we’re human” but we don’t get treated like we have rights when we’re out there, at times, and people feel entitled to do things like that,” Irving said. “We claim that we care about each other as human beings but we just call things out before they happen — like I did the other day — I’m telling people ‘Just keep it basketball’ and then you have things that happened at the Garden, things happening at Utah. There’s a lot of history there of things happening. So, just do your research, I would say to everybody.
“Hopefully, the respect of the game is kept at a high level moving forward. That’s what I hope.”