Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving was fined $50,000 on Tuesday for making obscene gestures toward fans during Sunday's 115-114 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
A league statement said Irving's fine is for "making obscene gestures on the playing court and directing profane language toward the spectator stands" at TD Garden.
During the second half, Irving was seen on multiple occasions displaying his middle finger toward Boston fans. The first time occurred after he hit a shot in the third quarter:
Irving said after the game he was only treating the Boston crowd the same way it treated him: "It's the same energy they have for me, and I'm gonna have the same energy for them."
Irving was booed relentlessly each time he touched the ball, and it only served as motivation. He poured in 18 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter, but Brooklyn fell short. The game ended in thrilling fashion as Celtics forward Jayson Tatum hit a layup as time expired to propel Boston to victory.
The history between Irving and Boston became bitter after he chose to sign with the Nets as a free agent in 2019. The 30-year-old had been acquired by the Celtics two years before that after he requested to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Before the 2018 season, Irving verbally committed to re-signing with Boston on a long-term deal when he hit free agency, only to leave for Brooklyn.
Irving's 2021-22 season has been a roller coaster. He was initially away from the Nets because he was unvaccinated and couldn't play in home games under New York City's vaccination mandates. The team then allowed him to return to only play in road games. In March, New York City expanded its vaccination exemption to city-based athletes, opening the door for him to play full-time.
While Irving might be lighter in the pockets, it's clear he's driven to silence the fans who refuse to forgive him for leaving three years ago. Irving and the Nets will try to bounce back in Game 2 against the Celtics on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.