Celtics Fan Cole Buckley Arrested for Throwing Water Bottle at Kyrie Irving

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IV

BOSTON, MA - MAY 30: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates against the Boston Celtics during Round 1, Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2021 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Cole Buckley has been identified as the Boston Celtics fan who appeared to throw a water bottle toward Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving as he was walking toward the tunnel after his team's 141-126 victory Sunday.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

A fan appears to throw a water bottle at Kyrie as he heads into the locker room after the Nets-Celtics game. pic.twitter.com/SCGaWyStht

The 21-year-old was subsequently arrested and will be subject to a lifetime ban from TD Garden:

Adam Himmelsbach @AdamHimmelsbach

Here is a statement from TD Garden regarding the incident in which a fan threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving. pic.twitter.com/j2aYRVNwr1

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

The 21-year-old male who threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving faces assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charge and will be arraigned on Tuesday, Boston PD say.<br><br>A second fan in Boston was also arrested Sunday night due to assault and battery of a police offer. https://t.co/lHhMiV4ur5

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Witnesses told Boston Police that the thrown water bottle grazed Kyrie Irving’s head, the PD said. https://t.co/VLRXYuuNYq

Michael McCann @McCannSportsLaw

Wow, Boston Police aren't taking the Kyrie Irving water bottle incident lightly. Assault &amp; battery with a dangerous weapon is a felony in Massachusetts. A conviction can lead to a prison sentence of up to 10 yrs. A plea deal can greatly lower the charge/sentence, but still. Wow. https://t.co/y5DcXhGrTe

"Fans got to grow at some point," Kevin Durant told reporters afterward. "... Grow the f--k up and enjoy the game. It's bigger than you."

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed

Kevin Durant: "We know how these people are in Boston, and we know how passionate they are about Kyrie in particular."

James Harden added that banning fans who cross the line from arenas may not be enough of a deterrent:

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer

James Harden called the water bottle being thrown at Kyrie Irving "unacceptable." Said banning fans from the arena isn't enough because this behavior continues. "Someone needs to be made an example of."

The bottle toss comes after multiple instances of ugly fan behavior during the NBA playoffs.

A Philadelphia 76ers fan dumped popcorn on Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook. A New York Knicks fan spat on Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young. The family of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant was targeted by Utah Jazz fans.

Irving spent two seasons with the Celtics, and public opinion in Boston started turning against him toward the end of his second year there. His decision to sign with the Nets amplified those feelings.

As the Celtics and Nets' first-round series shifted to Boston, the seven-time All-Star addressed the kind of treatment he hoped to avoid.

"I am just looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball; there's no belligerence or racism going on—subtle racism," he said. "People yelling s--t from the crowd, but even if it is, it's part of the nature of the game and we're just going to focus on what we can control."

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge responded and said he had "never heard any of that from any player in my 26 years in Boston" and "never heard that from Kyrie."

However, Celtics guard Marcus Smart alluded to "a couple of things" he had heard in the arena.

"It's hard to hear that and then have them support us as players," Smart said. "It's kind of sad and sickening."

He had also written an essay for The Players' Tribune detailing one Celtics fan calling him the N-word as he was driving away from TD Garden.