Kyrie Irving explains his obscene gesture to Celtics fans: 'All is fair in competition'

2022-04-18 06:07
Credit: GettyImageRank2 SPORT

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was impressive during Sunday's 115-114 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, but it was a moment with the fans that drew much of the attention.

Celtics fans, as expected, booed him throughout the game, with the former Celtics guard flashing the middle finger to those sitting in the front row on multiple occasions.

"Where I'm from, I'm used to all these antics and people being close nearby. It's nothing new when I come into this building of what it's going to be like. It's the same energy they have for me, and I'm going to have the same energy for them," he told reporters after the loss.

Player of the Game
Al  Horford
Al Horford
Points 20
Accuracy 8-13
Rebounds 15
Assists 2

Irving added: "When people start yelling p***y and b**h and f**k you, there’s only so much you can take as a competitor. We're the ones who are expected to be docile and be humble and take a humble approach.  Nah f**k that, that's the playoffs, it is what it is. I know what to expect in here and I’m ready to give the same energy back to them."

Irving has suggested in the past that he's heard some foul language from Celtics fans in his returns to TD Garden, and a fan was caught throwing a water bottle at him during last year's first-round playoff matchup. 

"I'm not really focused on it. It's fun. Again, where I'm from, I've dealt with so much, so coming in here, you relish it as a competitor. I'm going to keep repeating myself: This isn't my first time at TD Garden. So what you guys saw and what you guys think as entertainment or fans think as entertainment - all is fair in competition.

So, if somebody's going to call me out on my name, I'm going to look at them straight in the eye and see if they're really about it. Most of the time, they're not."

He also said, "embrace it," when asked about the hate he receives whenever he returns to Boston. "It's the dark side. Embrace it."

Much of the feud started when Irving decided to join the Nets even after telling a group of Celtics fans he would return to Boston. He has since been booed when returning as a visiting player.

He also previously told reporters Boston fans booing him is "like the scorned girlfriend, wants an explanation on why I left but still hoping for a text back" and said he wanted fans to "move past" the bad blood during this playoff series.

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