The Boston Celtics have developed a reputation for having one of the most passionate fanbases in the history of sports. While the passion of Celtics fans is always on full display, their love for their team often leads to them cross the line. Even before the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round series with the Celtics began, All-Star Kyrie Irving spoke on the history of Celtics fans and their unruly behavior.
“I am just looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball; there’s no belligerence or racism going on — subtle racism, people yelling s*** from the crowd,” Irving said to reporters per ESPN. “But even if it is, it’s part of the nature of the game and we’re just going to focus on what we can control.”’
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TJ Kidd Recalls Being Harassed By Celtics Fans as a Kid
Unfortunately for hoops fans, Irving was right. After the Nets 141-126 victory over the Celtics in Game 4, 21-year-old Celtics fan, Cole Buckley hurled a water bottle at Irving’s head as he was entering the tunnel at TD Garden. Celtics fans’ disrespect dates back to decades ago. Jason Kidd’s son TJ recalls a time where he and his mom were harassed by Celtics fans during the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals.
“It’s Deja vu,” Kidd said of Celtics fans chanting ‘f*** Kyrie,’ per Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of Bally Sports. “They picked my mom & I as a target. It didn’t work.”
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Kyrie Irving Thinks Boston Fans Have Sense of Self-Entitlement
Celtics fans have paid their hard-earned money for tickets and should be able to express their disdain for the opposing team’s players. While this is true there is a respectful way for fans to trash talk and it needs to be enforced. Celtics fan’s sense of entitlement has gotten out of hand and Kyrie knows it is time for the NBA to address it.
“You can see that people just feel very entitled out here,” Irving said of Celtics fans per ESPN. “They paid 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 that are performing.”
NBA Vows To Be More Strict In Monitoring Fan Behavior
The recent vile behavior of NBA fans is not limited to the Boston Celtics. Last week a fan spat on Hawks’ star Trae Young during Atlanta’s matchup with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Although Young declined to press charges on the fan, the Knicks have banned him from the Garden indefinitely. In response to the current unruly behavior of fans, the NBA released a statement and promised to have stricter enforcement of fan behavior moving forward.
“The return of more NBA fans to our arenas has brought great excitement and energy to the start of the playoffs, but it is critical that we all show respect for players, officials, and our fellow fans,” The NBA said in a statement last week. “An enhanced fan code of conduct will be vigorously enforced in order to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all involved.”
To have the opportunity to watch the best basketball players in the world is a privilege, not a right. It would be a shame to have such a privilege taken away because of a few unruly fans.