While many are expecting a full sweep in the first round, Brooklyn Net Kyrie Irving doesn’t seem too happy to be returning to his former home arena of the TD Garden. Ahead of game three on Friday, Kyrie mulled over how receptive the crowd would be upon his return.
“I am just looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball; there’s no belligerence or racism going on — subtle racism,” Irving said. “People yelling sh*t from the crowd, but even if it is, it’s part of the nature of the game, and we’re just going to focus on what we can control.”
The media pressed further and asked if Irving had ever racist comments made towards him while playing in Boston, and responded by shrugging and revealing that he “was not the only one that can attest to this.”
The racism of the Boston sports world is nothing new and was at its peak when Bill Russell was the Celtics star player. When the Hall of Famer had his jersey retired, he refused to have fans present and instead held a ceremony in an empty arena with his teammates by his side. He knew the fans mistreated him, and knowing they’d be cheering him on this one time wouldn’t be an accurate representation of his 15-year stint with the Celtics.
Of course, this isn’t Irving’s first time playing the Celtics since leaving the team after two seasons– back in December of 2020, he burned sage around the TD Garden court. In the post-game interview, he explained his actions.
“It just comes from a lot of native tribes,” Irving said after the game. “Being able to sage, just cleanse the energy, make sure that we’re all balanced. When we come into this job, we come into this place, it’s not anything that I don’t do at home that I did today. I saged last game, and I plan to sage almost every game if the opposing team will allow me to.”
Irving’s return to a fan-packed Boston arena come Friday, May 28, will surely be interesting.