Kyrie Irving Apologizes to Fan After Confrontation Following Nets Win over Knicks

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 7, 2022

Brooklyn Nets' Kyrie Irving (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Kyrie Irving was apologetic after helping lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 110-98 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday.

As TMZ Sports noted, Irving confronted a fan he believed was heckling him as the Nets went into the locker room. He tapped the fan on the shoulder and exchanged words with him, but he then told reporters after the game he thinks he made a mistake.

"East coast basketball at its finest," Irving said. "People just yelling random s--t from the crowd. They wanted a reaction, they got one. … I think I tapped the wrong person, so I apologize to the random guy that I tapped. He looked at me with a big surprise on his face. Somebody said something. I was just fed up with our performance."

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Kyrie Irving exchanged words with a Knicks fan at the end of the first half. <a href="https://t.co/kD53W2fw5V">pic.twitter.com/kD53W2fw5V</a>

This isn't the first time one of the Nets stars have engaged with fans at a game in such a way.

Kevin Durant was fined $25,000 in March for using obscene language with a fan during a loss to the Dallas Mavericks. 

Wajih AlBaroudi of CBS Sports pointed out before that fine that Durant "has been fined a total of $90,000 since April 2021 for using homophobic and misogynistic language toward actor Michael Rapaport on social media, directing obscene language toward a fan and using profane language in a post-game interview."

Irving was fined $25,000 in January for using obscene language with a fan during a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.          

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Kyrie chirped back at this Cavs fan heckling him. 🍿👀<br><br>(via _willswish/IG) <a href="https://t.co/qAObz6tSUO">pic.twitter.com/qAObz6tSUO</a>

As for Wednesday's game, Brooklyn trailed by 17 at the half,  and Irving noted he was frustrated when the interaction occurred. However, the Nets came storming back and won by 12 in large part because of a dominant fourth quarter that saw them outscore the Knicks 38-16.

Irving finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Durant posted a triple-double of 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

The Nets improved to 42-38 and are now one game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers in the race for the No. 7 seed and home-court advantage in the first play-in tournament game.