The Brooklyn Nets could not have asked for a better start to the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The Nets hold a 2-0 lead over the Boston Celtics and will be looking to make it 3 wins in 3 games on Friday night. Despite how well the Nets are playing, the focus in Game 3 will be less about what is going on, on the court, and more about Nets star Kyrie Irving.
Irving will be returning to TD Garden for the first time as a Net when the series shifts to Boston for Game 3. Given the sudden manner in which Irving left the Celtics in the summer of 2019, the 7-time All-Star was asked by reporters how he thought he would be received by fans when he finally takes the court on Friday. His response was unexpected.
“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 after Tuesday’s win via 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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Kendrick Perkins Sounds off on Kyrie’s Remarks
After catching wind of Irving’s comments, Kevin Durant’s former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins took to the airwaves to pitch in his two cents on the matter.
“It’s always extra with [Kyrie]. I don’t even know why we’re surprised by this comment,” Perkins said on Tuesday during an appearance on Celtics Postgame Live per NBC Sports. “Just think about it, in New York, the other night fans were chanting ‘F Trae Young.’ That don’t mean that they’re racist, that’s just, they’re ruthless. They’re just cheering on their team. But do we expect anything less than Kyrie to be extra about something?”
Perkins Glorifies Celtics Fans
Perkins started his career as a Celtic when he was drafted straight out of high school in 2003. He was a contributing member of the 2008 Celtics squad that beat Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers to claim their 17th NBA championship. Perkins is familiar with the people of Boston and says he has never had a problem with Celtics fans.
“Celtics fans are some of the best fans in the world. I played there for eight-and-a-half years. I lived there for eight-and-a-half years. And me personally, I never dealt with any type of racism while I was living in Boston,” Perkins continued. “That’s just me personally. I never dealt with it. I also came back as an opponent of the Celtics. I played there with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers and still never experienced any racism.”
Whether or not you agree with Kyrie’s comments, one thing that cannot be denied is the fact that he has started a bigger conversation in sports over the past few days. Everyone has different viewpoints of the things that they experience on a day-to-day basis and all Kyrie did was speak HIS truth. The banter from fans is something that athletes cannot control but Irving being the true superstar that he is, has learned to tune out the noise.