Kyrie Irving Discusses Middle Finger to Celtics Fans, Reveals What Was Said to Him

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 17, 2022

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 17: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics during Round 1 Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 17, 2022 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 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was brilliant during Sunday's 115-114 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, but a moment with the fans drew much of the attention.

Irving hit a shot in the third quarter and then turned to the fans in TD Garden and flipped them off.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Kyrie 😀<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NBAUK?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBAUK</a>)<a href="https://t.co/2EH4POKFE3">pic.twitter.com/2EH4POKFE3</a>

"It's the same energy they have for me, and I'mma have the same energy for them," he told reporters after the loss.

Irving added: "When people start yelling p---y and b---h and f--k you, there's only so much you can take as a competitor. … Nah f--k that, that's the playoffs, it is what it is. I know what to expect in here and I'm ready to give the same energy back to them."

Celtics on NBC Sports Boston @NBCSCeltics

Kyrie Irving is asked about flipping off Celtics fans during the game <a href="https://t.co/yoJqZvtBMv">pic.twitter.com/yoJqZvtBMv</a>

He also said, "embrace it," when asked about the hate he receives whenever he returns to Boston. "It's the dark side. Embrace it."

It wasn't the only time he signaled toward the crowd (warning: language):

Shawn Gill @_Shawn_gill33

Fuck kyrie! <a href="https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@espn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BleacherReport?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BleacherReport</a> <a href="https://t.co/DyTNNede7R">pic.twitter.com/DyTNNede7R</a>

While Irving played for the Celtics for two seasons earlier in his career, there is no love lost between him and the fans.

Much of it started when he decided to join the Nets even after telling a group of Celtics fans he would return to Boston. He has been booed when returning as a visiting player and exacerbated things by stepping on the logo at midcourt in one game.

He also previously told reporters Boston fans' booing him is "like the scorned girlfriend, wants an explanation on why I left but still hoping for a text back" and said he wanted fans to "move past" the bad blood during this playoff series.

The seven-time All-Star added another chapter to the back-and-forth with Celtics fans, but Boston got the final laugh in Sunday's Game 1 when Jayson Tatum's layup at the buzzer gave the home team the win.

Boston Celtics @celtics

JAYSON TATUM FOR THE WIN!!!!!!! <a href="https://t.co/WUr4UsaURk">pic.twitter.com/WUr4UsaURk</a>

It capped off a thrilling fourth quarter that saw the Nets storm back from an 11-point deficit and take a three-point lead on Irving's step-back triple with 45 seconds remaining. Yet Jaylen Brown's basket, a strong defensive effort on the other end and Tatum's layup at the buzzer gave the Celtics a 1-0 advantage.

Irving was impressive with 39 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals, but he will surely be on the receiving end of more taunts for Game 2.