Brooklyn Nets goalkeeper Keri Irving He was fined $50,000 by the NBA after turning on several Boston Celtics fans on two occasions during Sunday’s first game.
In a statement Tuesday, Byron Spruell, the NBA’s chief of operations, said Irving had been fined for “making obscene gestures on the court and directing obscene language toward spectator positions.”
After the Nets lost 115-114, Irving said he was responding to words he had heard from the crowd and that he would have “the same energy” for the fans that they had for him.
“When people start yelling ‘p—y’ or ‘b—‘ and ‘f— you’ and all of those things, there’s just so much that you take as a competitor,” Irving said. “We who are expected to be obedient and humble, and take a humble approach, that’s the playoffs. That’s what it is.”
The second game of the series on Wednesday night.
Irving, who played for Boston two seasons from 2017 to 2019, said Sunday that he has been booed by Celtics fans since leaving the team. Last season, Irving had a water bottle thrown at him by a crowd as he made his way off the ground.
He also said last season that there was “subtle racism” from the TD Garden crowd at times, admitting he heard some racist comments.
Kevin Durantwho made changes to his senior squad during his NBA career, shared his view on Tuesday on how fans react to players they used to cheer for, saying “it’s healthy once everyone understands both sides.”
“It’s rooted in love,” Durant said. “They once loved you. They once cheered you on and bought your merchandise and had life-changing experiences coming to games watching you play. So when that kind of thing is yanked from them like a trade or a trade claim or a desire for that bullet, they feel like a piece Some of them have also disappeared.”
When asked if he thinks Irving enjoys playing the villain, Durant said, “Some days he might be ready for it; some days he might not. But he understands what that job entails. We understand what that situation is. So he might Not be. In the mood for the next match, who knows.”
Nets Swingman Bruce BrownD., a Boston native, said he doesn’t think Irving is concerned about the reception he likely receives from Celtics fans in Game 2.
“Celtics fans are raucous,” Brown said. “They can be a lot at times, but it’s Boston. Great fan base. They’ll be with him [Wednesday]But he’s not worried about it.”
ESPN’s Nick Friedel contributed to this report.
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