Nets’ Kyrie Irving Pleads with Celtics Fans For No ‘Subtle Racism’

Getty Images Kyrie Irving of the Nets passes the ball during the second half of Game Two of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against the Celtics

The stage is set for Brooklyn Nets All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to make his return to Boston’s parquet floor at TD Garden.

For the first time in two years, Irving will be playing in front of Boston Celtics fans as the Garden will be at a fuller compacity for Game 3 and closer to the max for Sunday’s Game 4 matchup against the Nets.

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Kyrie Irving to Celtics Fans Ahead of Game 3: ‘No Belligerence, or Any Racism’

Brooklyn, currently leading 2-0 in its best-of-7 series, will look to push the Celtics to the brink of elimination on Friday.

However, when Irving was asked about the anticipation leading into Game 3, where Kyrie is to face a hostile crowd — which has been what most Celtics fans have been salivating over since its team advanced into the playoffs via the Play-In tournament — the seven-time All-Star pleaded for Boston fans to make sure the heckling sticks to sports, and remain respectful.

“It’s not my first time being an opponent in Boston,” Irving said Tuesday, after the Celtics’ 130-108 Game 2 loss to the Nets. “So, I’m just looking forward to competing with my teammates, and hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball. You know, there’s no belligerence, or any racism going on subtle racism, or people yelling s*** from the crowd.”

Irving On Racism At Boston’s TD Garden: ‘I Am Not The Only One Who Can Attest To This’

To which, Irving was asked to elaborate.

“I am not the only one who can attest to this,” Irving added. “But, it is just, you know… it is what it is. The whole world knows it.”

It wouldn’t be the first racist incident to occur during a sporting event in Boston. And unfortunately, you don’t have to travel very far to discover the city’s checkered past of professional athletes complain about hearing racial epithets being hurled at them, including 2019.

2019: Celtics Fan Involved in DeMarcus Cousins Incident Banned For Two Years

Irving, then still a member of the Celtics, was asked about an incident involving DeMarcus Cousins, who reported hearing racial slurs from a fan in the stands at TD Garden. The incident occurred after a game between the Celtics and Warriors.

The Celtics organization announced the perpetrator involved in the Cousins incident served a two-year ban.

Irving was asked about the incident involving Cousins and had this to say during his media availability.

“I myself can only speak for playing here as an opponent I’ve never heard anything like that,” Irving said in March 29, 2019, per Brian Robb of “But I can only go off of hearing stories. When you hear something like that, especially people of color, I gravitate toward being on anyone’s side, as long as it’s the right side. And really it just matters is treating people with respect. That’s really what it comes down to.”

Irving, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and the Nets will take on the Celtics in Game 3, Friday night at TD Garden.


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