As the Celtics gear up to welcome Kyrie Irving back to TD Garden for Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, there is already unrest in the air, and it isn’t all about the Hawks’ NBA-leading offense. Even before the Celtics opened practice on Wednesday, a fan was ejected from the arena for throwing a cup of beer on Smart during his postgame interview, a move that prompted the Atlanta native and his teammates to deliver a “respectful” response. “I hope everybody is respectful, you know?” said Smart, a Boston native who attended the University of Georgia. “But I’m not going to let somebody disrespect me. I’ve been in the league
The Celtics are getting a chance to welcome back Kyrie Irving. It’s a big deal and fans are excited for the opportunity, but the emotions of the night will be a little different than they were when the star guard last returned to Boston. That’s because the Celtics will be welcoming Kyrie Irving back to Boston some two years later, so the spotlight will be on a guy who is no longer a superstar.
On Tuesday night, Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving will return to TD Garden, hoping to lead his team to victory and silence the crowd. But the atmosphere will likely be more subdued than normal, and Marcus Smart will have his work cut out as he tries to ensure a respectful reception.. Read more about where is kyrie irving from and let us know what you think.6:23 P.M. EASTERN TIME.
BOSTON – Celtics guard Marcus Smart said he hopes the fan experience is respectful Friday night when former Celtics guard Kyrie Irving makes his first appearance in front of fans at TD Garden in Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs between Boston and the Brooklyn Nets.
We want our fans and spectators to treat all players with more respect, Smart said Thursday. We’re here to play and entertain the crowd. We just wanted to be respectful to both sides. Now the league has had several other incidents involving fans in the crowd. We don’t want our audience to be like that. We want everyone to behave respectfully on and off the field.
In October, Smart wrote in The Players’ Tribune about a racist incident he had personally witnessed in Boston and said he had heard of other similar incidents in the past.
Yeah, I’ve heard a few. It’s sad and frustrating, Smart said. Even though it’s the opposing team, we, the guys on your home team, said these racist statements and you expect us to come play for you. It’s hard. Like I said, we just want everyone to be respectful on and off the field. We want the same respect that we give to the fans and the audience to come out here and put on a good show and not put them in front of this way. In return, we expect the same.
Two years ago, a TD Garden fan received a two-year suspension for punching center DeMarcus Cousins – then a Golden State Warriors player – during a game on the 26th floor. January 2019 called racist statements.
During the investigation, we concluded that the fan offended Golden State’s bench, but none of the parties interviewed could confirm the use of racial slurs, and the video evidence was inconclusive, the Celtics said in a statement about the underage fan.
As a result of our investigation, the fan was suspended for two years.
Current Nets star Kevin Durant was on that Warriors team, and Irving was still playing for the Celtics at the time.
Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, said Thursday in a radio interview that he has never heard a player say he has faced racism on the Celtics’ team in the past.
I think we take that kind of thing seriously, Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub. I’ve never heard anything like it from a player I had the privilege of playing with during my 26 years in Boston. I had never heard that from Kyrie before, and he and I talked a lot. So I don’t know. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter. We’re just playing basketball. The players can say whatever they want.
Fan behavior has gotten a lot of attention in recent days, from Irving’s comment after Tuesday night’s Game 2 that: I hope we can just play basketball; there’s no fighting here and no racism – subtle racism, until Russell Westbrook gets popcorn thrown at his head in Philadelphia and Trey Young gets spit on in New York.
Celtics star Jason Tatum, who will play Friday after suffering a blow to the eye in the second half of Tuesday’s loss, said he, like Smart, hopes fans will treat Irving with respect when he returns.
I love our fans and I think it’s just a certain kind of behavior for fans to enjoy the game and cheer for their teams, Tatum said. I think that’s what he meant. Sure, there will be chants against him, but I think he was just talking about saving basketball, which most people should understand.
Nets coach Steve Nash, for his part, said he expects Irving, no matter what, to be OK.
I didn’t tell Kai, Nash said. He’s a world-class basketball player. I think he would be comfortable in a hostile environment. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled with the opportunity. There is a line, but to cross it or not, Ky can deal with that, no doubt. Hopefully this will all stay within the bounds of sportsmanship, so to speak, but Kee can handle it and has done so his entire career.
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