A Boston Celtics fan who appeared to throw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving’s head as he was leaving the court at TD Garden following the Brooklyn Nets’ 141-126 victory on Sunday night has been arrested, a league source told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
The bottle missed Irving, who was walking toward the tunnel after his 39-point performance helped give Brooklyn a 3-1 series lead over the Celtics.
“You’re seeing a lot of old ways come up… just underlying racism and treating people like they’re in a human zoo,” Irving said after the game. “Throwing stuff at people, saying things. There is a certain point where it gets to be too much.”
This is the second time a fan has thrown something at a player while they were leaving the court this postseason. A Sixers fan was banned from Wells Fargo Center after tossing popcorn at Russell Westbrook while he walked off the court during Game 2 of the Wizards’ first-round series against Philadelphia.
Two other high profile incidents this postseason include fans being banned in New York and Salt Lake City. A Knicks fan was banned from Madison Square Garden for spitting at Atlanta Hawks’ guard Trae Young while three fans at Utah’s home game against the Memphis Grizzlies were banned for making vulgar and racist comments to Grizzlies star Ja Morant’s parents.
“Fans got to grow up at some point,” Nets star Kevin Durant said after the game. “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. 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.”