The Boston Celtics’ fanbase doesn’t have a lot of love in its heart for Kyrie Irving.
Irving spent a brief, ill-fated stint with the organization from 2017 to 2019 and then promptly bolted despite promising to sign with them long-term. Instead, he turned around and inked a deal with the Brooklyn Nets to play alongside Kevin Durant.
Boston never forgot.
Now, with the Celtics and Nets facing off in the first round of their Western Conference playoff showdown, the bad blood between Irving and his old team has taken center stage.
It manifested itself in exchanges like this in Game 1:
And it led to a $50,000 fine for Irving.
This week, Durant offered a thoughtful explanation for the rift between Celtics fans and Irving that actually seemed fairly balanced.
Kevin Durant on Celtics fans’ hostility toward Kyrie Irving: “It’s rooted in love. They once loved you…had life altering experiences coming to games watching you play. So when it gets ripped from them in a trade…it feels like a piece of them is gone too.” pic.twitter.com/P1b6jNnrDq
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) April 19, 2022
“It’s rooted in love,” Durant said.
“They once loved you…had life altering experiences coming to games watching you play. So when it gets ripped from them in a trade…it feels like a piece of them is gone too.
Now that’s how you do Coachella. https://t.co/DQ6GARDpKO
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 20, 2022
It will be interesting to see how this series ultimately shakes out. If Boston wins, then the Irving beef will likely slowly be forgotten. After all, the Celtics would’ve gotten the better end of that divorce.
Should Brooklyn come back and win the series, though – hostilities from Boston fans could reach a whole new level.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.