Kyrie Irving speaks out about racism from Boston Celtics fans

Irving hopes to not hear racist remarks from hometown fans of his former team upon the Nets' return Friday.

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Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving said that he hopes to not hear racist remarks from hometown fans of his former team, the Boston Celtics, upon his return Friday. 

“I mean, it’s not my first time being an opponent in Boston, so I’m just looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully we can just keep it strictly basketball, there’s no belligerence or any racism going on, subtle racism and people yelling s–t from the crowd,” Irving said Tuesday. 

Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets said he hopes to not hear racist remarks from hometown fans of his former team, the Boston Celtics, when he returns there this week. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

His Nets are headed to Boston with a 2-0 lead in the opening-round NBA playoff series. He remarked that even if Celtics fans aren’t on their best behavior, “it’s part of the nature of the game, and we’re just going to focus on what we can control.”

When asked if he had experienced racism during his time with Boston, he said, “I’m not the only one that could attest to this, but it’s just … it is what it is.” 

The playoffs have already seen basketball fans misbehaving. As previously reported, a Philadelphia 76ers fan dumped popcorn on the head of Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook during his team’s Game Two series match last night in Philly. 

“To be completely honest, this s–t is getting out of hand, especially for me. The amount of disrespect, the amount of fans just doing whatever the f–k they want to do — it’s just out of pocket,” Westbrook said of the incident. 

Read More: Fan pours popcorn on injured Russell Westbrook as he walks to locker room

“In these arenas, you got to start protecting the players,” he said. “We’ll see what the NBA does.”

Former Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, who is currently an ESPN analyst, said he never experienced racism while playing in Boston or when he returned as an opponent. “To be honest, I know that Celtic fans are some of the best fans in the world,” Perkins said. “I never dealt with any type of racism while I was living in Boston. That’s just me, personally. I never dealt with it. I don’t know.”

Read More: Former Michigan State basketball star Keith Appling arrested for murder

But current Celtics guard Marcus Smart contradicted Perkins in an article last October for The Players’ Tribune, where he wrote he was pulled over several times during his rookie year because of dark tint on his Range Rover’s windows, which he said were within legal limits. 

Smart also said a woman walking with her young son in an arena parking lot after a game called him the n-word. “I wasn’t a person to this woman,” he contended. “I was a form of entertainment. Nothing more. And, believe me, it took every ounce of restraint in my body not to curse her out.”

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