Kyrie Irving was the talk of the NBA world on Sunday after the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the first round of the 2021 playoffs. As he walked toward the locker room, Irving was hit by a water bottle by a Celtics fan.
The fan who threw the bottle was arrested. He won’t be allowed back in TD Garden and is charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.
Before Irving left the hardwood, though, he stomped on the Celtics logo at half-court. Boston legend Kevin Garnett, who has never shied away from bashing the Nets star, didn’t appreciate what he saw.
Kyrie Irving talks about water bottle incident
Irving scored 39 points on 11-of-24 shooting from the field in Game 4. The Nets are up 3-1 on the Celtics and one win away from advancing to the second round of the postseason.
Sunday was supposed to be a celebratory day. However, the postgame mood was somber since Irving was the latest player to be treated unfairly by fans. Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook had popcorn dumped on him by a fan in Philadelphia, Atlanta Hawks superstar Trae Young was spat on by a fan at Madison Square Garden, and Memphis Grizzlies floor general Ja Morant‘s father had several fans in Salt Lake City direct racist and vulgar remarks at him and his wife.
As expected, Irving wasn’t thrilled when the Nets media asked him to talk about the water bottle being thrown at him.
“You’re seeing a lot of old ways come up,” Irving said. “It has been that way in history in terms of entertainment, performers, and sports for a long period of time and just underlying racism and just treating people like they’re in a human zoo. Throwing stuff at people, saying things. There is a certain point where it gets to be too much.”
Celtics fans don’t like Irving since he said he would re-sign with the team in the summer of 2019, only to go back on his word and join the Nets instead. Booing is acceptable at games. Saying racist remarks and throwing objects isn’t.
While most Celtics supporters understand Irving shouldn’t have had an object thrown at him, some are very upset he stomped on the team logo. Garnett, who won the 2008 championship with Boston, is part of that camp.
Kevin Garnett did not like Kyrie Irving stomping on the Celtics logo
Garnett took to social media to express his anger at Irving stomping on the Celtics logo. The Hall of Famer said that shouldn’t be allowed while also stating what the fan did was wrong.
With all due respect to Garnett, though, it’s just a logo. Irving is the human being who had a water bottle thrown at him. You can’t compare the two situations.
However, Garnett isn’t the only former Celtics player taking offense to Irving stomping on the logo. In fact, one of KG’s teammates on the 2008 championship team called out Uncle Drew, prompting Kevin Durant to get involved in the action.
Kevin Durant and Glen Davis argue over logo incident
Glen “Big Baby” Davis said on Instagram that Irving disrespected every player who has ever played for the Celtics by stomping on the logo. Durant replied to his comment with a bunch of laughing emojis.
KD and Irving are best friends, so it’s not surprising to see the two-time Finals MVP defend his pal. The Nets need to finish this series in Game 5 in Brooklyn so they don’t have to deal with the Celtics crowd again.
Assuming they defeat Boston, the Nets will face the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the postseason. That will certainly be a fun, competitive series featuring three former MVPs in Durant, James Harden, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.