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It’s safe to say Kyrie Irving took flight in his return to Boston. Not only did the Brooklyn Nets star score 39 points in a close Game 1 loss, he flipped the bird to Celtics fans on at least one occasion.
On another occasion, he flipped them two.
But hey, there’s only so much grief a man can take, Irving explained to reporters.
“Look, where I’m from, I’m used to all these antics and people being close nearby,” Irving said, via Hoops Wire. “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.
Kyrie's playoff return to TD Garden has already meant fireworks… 🍿 pic.twitter.com/V58xLV3C2T
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) April 17, 2022
“And it’s not every fan, I don’t want to attack every fan, every Boston fan. When people start yelling ‘p—y’ or ‘b—-‘ and ‘f— you’ 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. F— that, it’s the playoffs. This is what it is.”
His high-flying responses and performance weren’t enough though, as Celtics star Jayson Tatum got a bucket as time ran out to give the Celtics a 116-115 victory and 1-0 series advantage.
Irving, of course, used to play for the Celtics, even though it was a hardly a memorable run. He bolted to Brooklyn in free agency a couple of years ago. Celtics fans remember him just enough to boo him, it seems.
“You guys like my haircut??” pic.twitter.com/7KxvLkxmcc
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) April 17, 2022
During the regular season, Irving created a stir across the league when he announced he had no plans to get vaccinated and was forced to miss home games, thanks to New York City mandates, which have since been lifted. Because he had the courage to stand by his convictions rather than give into demands, many around the country supported him this season as well.
So while some people are jeering Irving, others are steadfast in their applause.
Either way, he stands a good chance to receive some hefty fines for his antics in Boston on Sunday.
“Past precedent also says the NBA can choose to fine him up to $50,000 per incident,” RealGM noted. “There were seemingly between one and four occasions where Irving had a finable offense.”