After a series of fan incidents last week, a great night of NBA Playoffs was once again overshadowed by an individual in the stands.
Following the Brooklyn Nets 141-126 win over Boston, a Celtics fan threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving, narrowly missing the head of the former Celtic superstar. Tyler Johnson and Kyrie immediately engaged in a back and forth with people in the section, pointing the arena security to a guy responsible for the incident. According to a statement from TD Garden, the fan was arrested for "throwing an object."
You can see that people just feel very entitled out here. 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.
Kyrie Irving, ESPN
A few days ago, Irving expressed concerns about racism from Boston fans. His former teammate and current Celtics guard, Marcus Smart, backed the Nets superstar. And even though Kyrie had hoped his return to TD Garden would be "strictly about the game of basketball," yesterday's incident, although an isolated case, somewhat confirmed his doubt about how he would be received by the fans in his return to Boston.
You're seeing a lot of old ways come up. 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.
Kyrie Irving, ESPN
The league and the teams have shown they have the players' back when last week, the 76ers, Jazz, and Knicks banned fans for disrespectful behavior during games. The Celtics look to follow the same pattern, as the person who threw the bottle faces a potential lifetime ban from TD Garden.
However, the recent string of fan-related incidents shows a troubling trend that will be hard to stop without every attendee holding themselves accountable for their behavior in NBA arenas. "Fans got to grow up at some point. I know that being in the house for a year and a half with the pandemic got a lot of people on edge, got a lot of people stressed out, but when you come to these games, you have to realize these men are human," said Kevin Durant, who led the Nets to a 3-1 series lead over the Celtics with 42 points.
We are not animals; we are not in the circus. You coming to the game is not all about you as a fan. So, have some respect for the game. Have some respect for the human beings, and have some respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn't be proud of you throwing water bottles at basketball players or spitting on players, or tossing popcorn. So, grow the f--- up, and enjoy the game. It's bigger than you.
Kevin Durant, ESPN
KD summed it up perfectly, pointing to the necessary mentality switch for these types of incidents to never occur again. It's time to put an end to it!