BOSTON — Nets guard Kyrie Irving has been fined $50,000 for making obscene gestures and directing profane language toward the crowd during Brooklyn’s Game 1 playoff loss to the Celtics,
League operations president Byron Spruell announced the fines on Tuesday.
Cameras captured Irving flipping his middle finger toward fans as he ran down the court after making a shot in the third quarter. Irving said after the game that his actions were in response to jeers from fans he said crossed the line.
“Where I’m from, I’m used to all these antics and people being close nearby,” Irving said after the game. “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 Boston fan. When people start yelling (expletives) 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…it’s the playoffs. This is what it is.”
Irving spent two seasons in Boston before departing during free agency in 2019 to join the Nets.
In Game 1 on Sunday, he was booed loudly every time he touched the ball but led Brooklyn with 39 points in the Nets’ last-second 115-114 loss. Fans have given him similar receptions in recent visits to Boston.
But it reached its most volatile point last season during the playoff matchup between the Nets and Celtics when a fan was arrested after allegedly tossing a bottle at Irving that nearly hit him.
With that history in mind, leading up to the start of the series Irving said he expected a level of jeering from Celtics’ fans. He also noted after last season’s incident that he had experienced what he characterized as “racism” from the TD Garden crowd.
The Celtics host Brooklyn in Game 2 of their series on Wednesday night.
Story by Kyle Hightower