Boston Celtics fans have made their displeasure with former Celtics point guard (and current Brooklyn Nets floor general) Kyrie Irving clear lately, but new Boston point guard Kemba Walker said Friday that he wants them to "move past it."
"I know there’s been some stuff between the (Celtics) fans and him," Walker said, per Mike Mazzeo of Yahoo Sports. "Hopefully that can be over, and (everyone can) just move past it. It’s over. He’s here in Brooklyn and I’m here now in Boston."
The C's and Nets just finished a home-and-home set, with each team taking a game on their own court. Walker made his comments following Brooklyn's 112-107 win over Boston on Friday.
The C's were victorious 121-110 on Wednesday, and Boston fans were out in full force with anti-Irving chants:
Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press described the scene in more detail:
"Posters branding him as a coward decorated the entrance to the Boston Garden. A few fans who showed up wearing his No. 11 Celtics jersey with the words 'Where is?' written on tape above his name. During the introductions, with Irving nowhere to be seen, the first 'Kyrie Sucks!' chant broke out; it was repeated about a dozen times throughout the game. (There was also a 'Yankees Suck!' chant, just because.)"
After the game, Irving appeared to respond to those incidents on Instagram:
Irving's tenure in Boston did not end positively, with the C's going just 49-33 and losing in the second round of the playoffs after entering the season with championship expectations. Still, the point guard did well last season, averaging 23.8 points and 6.9 assists in an All-Star campaign.
ESPN's Jackie MacMullan did a deep dive into Irving's two-year stint, noting that the point guard took much of the blame for how things unfolded in Boston when it wasn't all his fault. However, MacMullan did note that "Kyrie's awkward attempts at providing forceful leadership proved to be flawed, and ultimately destructive."
In fairness, Irving walked into a tough situation in 2017, taking over for a beloved point guard in Isaiah Thomas, who had just led Boston to the Eastern Conference Finals the year before. Irving did well in his first year with the Celtics, averaging 24.4 points in 60 games.
A knee injury ended his year early, and the C's proceeded to come within one win of an NBA Finals berth without Irving accumulating any playoff minutes.
For whatever reasons, the Celtics never recaptured that magic in 2018-19. Now Irving, who has missed the Nets' past eight games with a right shoulder injury, is averaging a career-high 28.5 points per game.