There has been no love lost between Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics since his departure from the franchise. With his current team, the Brooklyn Nets, facing the C’s in the first round of this year’s playoffs, things have really ramped up. Some former Celtics greats like Kevin Garnett have taken to defending their franchise, even after some inexcusable behavior by a fan of the team.
Ahead of the series’ trip to Boston, and in light of multiple incidents of fans engaging in abusive behavior towards opposing players in other NBA cities, Kyrie said that he hoped that his team wouldn’t be subject to similar behavior. Unfortunately, that did not hold up after Game 4 of the series.
Irving appeared to stomp on the Celtics’ midcourt logo ahead of the game, which the Nets won 141-126 to go up three games to one in the series. It probably wasn’t what the point guard needed to do to calm down the opposing fans, but there is no excuse for what happened afterwards, when a fan whipped a water bottle at Irving as he left the floor after the game.
Garnett, a Celtics great who later played for the Brooklyn Nets, said that Irving has some culpability for what happened. “So nobody going to say anything about Kyrie stomping Lucky?” Garnett wrote on Instagram. “We just gonna act like we didn’t see that..tf going on?”
Richard Jefferson, a former New Jersey Nets player who now works as a broadcaster with the current iteration of the franchise, clapped back at Garnett, citing the “FAR more disrespectful” things the Hall of Famer did as a player. “He’s crossed that line plenty of times… plenty of times.”
Kevin Garnett has done FAR more disrespectful things on the court than what Kyrie did. I don’t want to hear that noise. He’s crossed that line plenty of times…… plenty of times. 🤐
— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) June 1, 2021
Kevin Garnett is a pretty beloved former NBA player, especially among Celtics fans after he led the team to the 2008 NBA Title over the Los Angeles Lakers. It is hard to deny that Jefferson is right, though.
In 2010, Garnett certainly crossed a line when he allegedly called Charlie Villanueva a “cancer patient” on the court during a Celtics-Detroit Pistons game. The jab was a pretty clear reference to Villanueva’s lack of hair, which is a result of his battle with the disease alopecia universalis.
Other star players like Joakim Noah, Tim Duncan, and Carmelo Anthony have had serious brush-ups with Garnett during his career over things said on the court. And even so, it never would have been appropriate for someone to throw something at KG during a game, the same way that it is not appropriate for a Celtics fan to throw a bottle at Irving, even if his midcourt stunt can be seen as disrespectful.