Ahead of Game 3 of the playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving shook things saying he hoped Boston Celtics fans wouldn’t engage in “racism or subtle racism” during their upcoming games. Yesterday, Celtics guard Marcus Smart had a message for the fans.
Speaking to the media, Smart said he hopes that the fans will be “very respectful of all players” on Friday. He said he doesn’t want to see a repeat of what happened at the most recent Philadelphia 76ers-Washington Wizards, New York Knicks-Atlanta Hawks, and Utah Jazz-Memphis Grizzlies games.
“We want our fan base and our crowd to be very respectful of all players,” Smart said, via ESPN. “We’re out here to perform and entertain for the crowd. We just wanted to be respectful on both ends. We were kind of seen around the league now with a couple other incidents with fans in the crowd. We don’t want our crowd to be like that. We want everybody to be respectful on and off the court.”
Marcus Smart has spoken out in the past about racist incidents at TD Bank Arena in Boston. In an article for The Players Tribune last year, he called it “sad and sickening” to see Celtics fans act that way towards opposing players.
Marcus Smart on if he's heard Boston fans make racist comments: "Yeah, I've heard it. I've hard a couple of things. It's hard to hear that and then have them support us as players. It's kind of sad and sickening."
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 27, 2021
Game 3 between the Nets and Celtics tonight will have a ton of implications.
The Nets own a 2-0 lead, making this a must-win game for Boston. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving will be playing his first game at TD Bank Arena in front of a full crowd since leaving Boston in 2019.
Needless to say, tensions are going to super-high, regardless of what happens on the court.
Let’s just hope that the tension doesn’t boil over into any harmful behavior from fans.