Brooklyn Nets superstar point guard Kyrie Irving said he is simply keeping the ‘same energy’ as Boston Celtics fans when he gave the Celtics fans middle fingers during the Nets Game 1 loss to the Celtics in Boston on Sunday.
Irving, during his post game presser, said he would have “the same energy for them” that they had for him. Irving spent two seasons with the Celtics prior to joining the Nets.
“Look, where I’m from, I’m used to all these antics and people being close nearby,” Irving said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “It’s nothing new when I come into this building what it’s going to be like — but it’s the same energy they have for me, I’m going to have the same energy for them.
“And it’s not every fan, I don’t want to attack every fan, every Boston fan. When people start yelling ‘p—y’ or ‘b—-‘ and ‘f— you’ and all this stuff, there’s only but so much you take as a competitor. We’re the ones expected to be docile and be humble, take a humble approach, f— that, it’s the playoffs. This is what it is.”
Earlier in the week, Irving stated that there was “subtle racism” from the crowd at times, even saying that he heard racist comments in the TD Garden.
“I know what to expect in here,” Irving said. “And it’s the same energy I’m giving back to them. It is what it is. I’m not really focused on it, it’s fun, you know what I’m saying? Where I’m from I’ve dealt with so much, so coming in here you relish it as a competitor. … This isn’t my first time at TD Garden so what you guys saw, what you guys think is entertainment, or the fans think is entertainment, all is fair in competition.
“So if somebody’s going to call me out on my name, I’m gonna look at them straight in the eye and see if they really ’bout it. Most of the time they’re not.”
“This is the first time you actually caught it because this is a big-time game,” Irving said. “I respond in different ways. I’m not trying to focus on that. If you want to ask me questions about the fans, go ask them. Go on the street and ask them questions.”
“This is a guy that’s made the game-winning shot in the Finals,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said. “He’s played in the Olympics. He’s played in the All-Star Game, All-Star Game MVP. I don’t know that there’s any atmospheres that are really gonna rattle him. … If he has an off night, he has an off night. I don’t think the crowd is a factor for Kyrie. This guy’s done about all you can do in the game.”
“I don’t think he worries about it,” Nets forward Kevin Durant said. “I think he just plays his game and do what’s required out there. And tonight, the shot-making, just controlling the game for us, was incredible. And that’s what we’re going to need going forward — so matter where he’s at, I think he’s the same player.”