Nets guard Kyrie Irving had a water bottle thrown at him from the stands at TD Garden in Boston, following Brooklyn’s playoff win vs. the Celtics on Sunday night.
YES Network captured the moment: Irving was walking off the court with teammates when the bottle landed in front of him.
“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 go and do things like that,” Irving told reporters in his postgame Zoom call.
“We keep saying, ‘we’re human, we’re human,’ but we don’t treated like we have rights when we’re out there and people feel entitled to do things like that” – Kyrie Irving pic.twitter.com/LbSRU6zkHB
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) May 31, 2021
A later video (screenshot below) showed a Celtics fan being led from the arena in handcuffs. It is not yet clear whether that person threw the bottle.
Celtics fans are angry at Irving for, among other things, leaving the team in 2019 after saying the year prior that he would re-sign with Boston. Irving stirred the pot earlier in the week by expressing his hope that the Boston crowd would stick to basketball for Games 3 and 4 of the Nets-Celts series and not display “subtle racism.”
On Sunday, Irving walked to center court after the Nets defeated the Celtics 141-126 in Game 4, then stomped on Boston’s logo. Brooklyn took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with the victory. Game 5 will be Tuesday in Brooklyn.
Sunday’s incident is the latest instance of fans crossing lines with players or their families during this year’s NBA playoffs:
— A 76ers fan in Philadelphia dumped popcorn on the Wizards’ Russell Westbrook.
— A Knicks fan in New York spit on Hawks guard Trae Young.
— Jazz fans in Salt Lake City made racist and vulgar comments to the family of Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.
Each of those fans was identified and then banned from their respective arenas.
Irving reminded reporters that the issue of fan misbehavior has been around for many years.
“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’ve just got to figure out how to deal with it,” he said.