Kyrie Irving says that banning fans who mistreat NBA players will not solve the problem. It goes much deeper than that.
“[It’s] it’s just underlying racism and treats people like they’re in a human zoo, “Irving said after a water bottle was thrown at him after Brooklyn’s 141-126 win over the Celtics on Sunday night.
“Throwing things at people, saying things. There’s a point where it becomes too much, ”said the Nets guard, who spent two years playing in Boston and revealed last week that he was a victim of racism while in the city. “You see people feel very empowered here … As a black man who plays in the NBA, dealing with a lot of these things is quite difficult. You never know what will happen. “
Irving had 39 points and 11 rebounds to quell the first post-pandemic full house at TD Garden and lead the Nets to victory in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series. The victory gave Brooklyn a 3-1 lead and a chance to finish at home on Tuesday.
When Irving left the court, he was about to be hit by a bottle thrown from the stands. Irving and Nets guard Tyler Johnson turned to the stands and pointed. Police surrounded a man in a Kevin Garnett jersey in the stands before pulling him out in handcuffs.
A TD Garden spokeswoman said Boston police arrested one person Sunday night “for throwing an object.”
“We have zero tolerance for violations of our guest code of conduct,” said spokeswoman Tricia McCorkle. “And the guest is subject to a lifetime ban from TD Garden.”
The incident reflected poor behavior at other NBA games in the past week, as the arenas began to lift capacity limits set during the pandemic.
In Philadelphia, a fan tossed popcorn at Wizards star Russell Westbrook; in New York, a spit on Atlanta’s Trae Young as he got ready to hit the ball. They were banned, just like three fans in Utah who allegedly racially abused the family of Memphis guard Ja Morant.
“The fans have to grow up at some point,” Nets forward Kevin Durant said. “I know that being home for a year and a half with the pandemic has made a lot of people nervous, it has stressed a lot of people. But when you come to these games, you must realize: these men are human. We are not animals. We are not in the circus.
“Coming to the game is not just about you as a fan. So respect the game. Respect human beings. And have some respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn’t be proud of you throwing bottles of water at basketball players, or spitting at players, or throwing popcorn at them. So grow up and enjoy the game, ”Durant said. “It’s bigger than you.”
Durant scored 42 and James Harden added 23 points and a career postseason record of 18 assists to help Brooklyn move to a victory from their first playoff series win since 2014. Jayson Tatum scored 40 points for the Celtics, playing at home for the first time. time since Massachusetts lifted its Covid-19 capacity restrictions.
One night after the Boston Bruins beat the New York Islanders 5-2 in front of the largest crowd to watch a pre-pandemic NHL game, the Celtics were expecting a similar boost. And the packed crowd of 17,226 was hostile to Irving, who played for the Celtics before opting to join the Nets.
They booed every time he touched the ball, showering him and Durant with obscene chants. But that was overshadowed by the post-game incident.
“We know what these people are like here in Boston. We know how passionate they are for Kyrie, in particular, they are still mad at him, ”said Durant. “That is no reason for them to act childish. Glad to have the ‘W’. Hopefully, we won’t have to come back here this year. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism