Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was nearly hit on Sunday by a water bottle thrown by a Celtics fan in Boston, marking the latest incident of abusive behavior by spectators during the NBA Playoffs.
Irving said fans “treated people like they’re in a human zoo” and hinted at the “underlying racism.”
“There is a point where it gets to be too much,” he said, according to ESPN.
The bottle flew to Irving as he and his teammates left the field at TD Garden after their 141-126 win to take a three-game-one lead over the Celtics.
A man wearing a Celtics jersey was pictured being escorted by police down the steps of the arena. He was arrested and subject to a life ban from the NBA team’s residence, according to reports.
“We are not animals. We’re not in the circus, ”Nets teammate Kevin Durant said after the game. “Coming to the game isn’t just about you as a fan. So have a little respect for the game. Have respect for human beings and have respect for yourself.
Irving, who played for Boston, is just the latest victim of inappropriate fan behavior as more people return to the stands amid the easing of pandemic restrictions.
Washington Wizards goalie Russell Westbrook received popcorn in Philadelphia last week on the same day the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young was spat out at Madison Square Garden in New York City. And in another gruesome confrontation, fans made racist and vulgar remarks towards Memphis Grizzlies goalie’s father Ja Morant during a game in Utah. Fans have been banned indefinitely.
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