Kevin Garnett is not thrilled with Kyrie Irving.
The NBA Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtics champion criticized Irving for stomping on the Celtics logo after the Brooklyn Nets' 141-126 win Sunday.
There will be some who point out that Garnett delivering this message is perhaps a bit hypocritical, given his reputation as a brualt trash-talker and one who was accused of crossing the line on more than a few occasions.
Garnett's comments Monday also largely ignored the greater context from the aftermath of Sunday's game, namely that 21-year-old fan Cole Buckley was arrested and charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon after he threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving. He is also facing a permanent ban from the TD Garden.
Given the alarming number of fan incidents during this year's playoffs—Ja Morant's family was the subject of racist taunts in Utah, Trae Young was spit on in New York and Russell Westbrook had popcorn thrown on him in Philadelphia—an argument could be made that KG focusing on Irving's tame halfcourt display distracts from the greater issue at play.
Raul Martinez @RaulNBCBoston
#Nets guard Kyrie Irving postgame. <br><br>"It's unfortunate that sports has come to this kind of crossroads. Just underlying racism and just treating people like they're in a human zoo. Throwing things at them. At a certain point it just becomes too much." pic.twitter.com/CgJkkFTZIO
Nets' superstar Kevin Durant called on fans to treat athletes like human beings after Sunday's incident during his postgame press conference:
"Fans got to grow up at some point. I know that being in the house for a year and a half with the pandemic got a lot of people on edge, got a lot of people stressed out, but when you come to these games, you have to realize these men are human.
"We are not animals; we are not in the circus. You coming to the game is not all about you as a fan. So, have some respect for the game. Have some respect for the human beings, and have some respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn't be proud of you throwing water bottles at basketball players or spitting on players or tossing popcorn. So, grow the f--k up, and enjoy the game. It's bigger than you."
Put another way—some fans may not like Irving based on his time in Boston and his little stomp on Lucky, but throwing objects at him isn't acceptable behavior.