The incident occurred at the end of Sunday’s game, as Irving entered the tunnel to the locker room after beating his former team in front of a full-capacity TD Garden in Boston. Celtics goalie Marcus Smart said the fan was “treated by the security of the arena”.
Brooklyn took a 3-1 lead in the series with a 141-126 victory and is now just one second round victory in the NBA playoffs.
“You see a lot of old ways coming up,” Irving told reporters of the incident after the game. “Just underlying racism and treating people like they’re in a human zoo. “
This is just the latest of a handful of incidents involving fans harassing players from opposing teams during NBA playoffs, as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and arenas welcome more. spectators. Kevin Durant spoke out after the alleged situation with Irving.
“We’re not in the circus,” Durant said. “Your mom wouldn’t be proud if you threw water bottles at basketball players. [expletive] and enjoy the game. It’s bigger than you. “
Fans of the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz have already been banned or removed from arenas this year for abusing opposing team players.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on Friday there would be “zero tolerance” for inappropriate behavior by fans.
“No one is going to get away with an act like this,” Silver said. You are going to be taken. You will be banned from an arena. In some cases, criminal prosecution may be initiated depending on whether the conduct reaches the level of an assault or something that the police take note of. “