A Celtics fan chucked a water bottle at Nets star Kyrie Irving as he was leaving the floor Sunday night, becoming the latest in a series of incidents between fans and players.
Water bottle nearly hits Kyrie Irving as he walks to the locker room following Game 4 in Boston. pic.twitter.com/RrtZth3cqt
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) May 31, 2021
The incident occurred as Irving was making his way off the floor after scoring 39 points and leading the Nets to victory.
“It’s unfortunate that sports has come to this kind of crossroads,” Irving explained, “where you are seeing old ways come up … underlying racism and treating people like they are in a human zoo.”
The fan was led away in handcuffs. Irving stomped on the Celtics logo at midcourt shortly before the bottle was thrown.
Kyrie appeared to step on the Boston logo as he greeted his teammates at half court postgame.
— ESPN (@espn) May 31, 2021
“This incident is under review,” TD Garden said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for violations of our guest code of conduct, and the guest is subject to a lifetime ban from TD Garden.”
The incident marks at least the third instance of fans spitting or throwing things at NBA players in recent weeks. Last week, Wizards star Russell Westbrook had popcorn thrown on him, and Hawks guard Trae Young was spat on at Madison Square Garden.
“Anything could’ve happened with that water bottle being thrown at me,” Irving said. “But my brothers were surrounding me, and I had people in the crowd. Just trying to get home to my wife and my kids.”
Irving continued, “That’s just what sports is: You mix drunk people out in the crowd that are cheering for the team. You have some fans that are there to watch the quality of the game. Now we don’t know who is who.”