Kevin Durant, Bruce Brown, and the Brooklyn Nets might be making a trip to Massachusetts together in order to take on the Boston Celtics and go up 3-0 in their first-round playoff series, but one of the more interesting underlying storylines in this game is the fact Kyrie Irving will play his first game back in Boston with fans in the stands.
Irving knows that he is going to be the target of most of the crowd’s vitriol, both as a superstar on the Nets and as an ex-Celtic.
Ahead of the showdown, Irving tried to warn the fans about dipping into the “subtle racism” pool, advising them to keep their jeers and heckles on basketball rather than getting personal.
Naturally, a firestorm of a debate has splintered off from these comments, with current and former players vouching for against claims of racism from Celtics fans.
On Friday, Brown came to the defense of his teammate by sharing his experiences as a kid growing up in the region.
Brown, who grew up in Boston and went to high school in Wakefield, claims that Irving’s stories are by no means fabricated, as Brown “experienced a few things” relevant to what Irving was warning everyone about. This adds even more validity to Irving’s testimony, as Brown spent his formative years evidently enduring some of the worst barbs a human being could possibly utter.
Brooklyn Nets studs Kyrie Irving and Bruce Brown have thoughts about Boston racism.
Celtics players and executives have had mixed reactions to Irving’s comments. While former Celtics center and ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins claims that he has never experienced any racist taunts in Boston, a theory that executive Danny Ainge wholeheartedly endorsed, Celtics guard Marcus Smart offers a much different story.
Smart claims that even though he is on the Celtics, he has been the subject of some racially insensitive or flat-out racist comments. Even the great Bill Russell, of course, experienced some vile racism in Boston, albeit before decades of social change and progress.
Kyrie and Boston might not share any mutual positivity for one another, but he isn’t just making these stories up off of the top of his head, and the most recent week in the NBA proves that, as New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers fans ended up in the news for all of the wrong reasons.
In addition to the fact that fans feel so empowered they will decide to spit at Trae Young or dump popcorn on Russell Westbrook while he is injured, Utah Jazz fans uttered some horrific attacks towards Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant and his family. This stuff happens all around the league, and Boston is by no means excluded.
Booing Kyrie is all well and good; fans have the right to boo the opponent. However, if you think that there isn’t a small chance that at least one fan attending what could be a sold-out Game 3 is coming to the game with bad intentions, that’s ignoring the fact that entitled fans can, and will, say anything, irrespective of what city they are in.
Irving knows that he is going to feel the full force of a fanbase that felt scorned by him, and Brown knows firsthand that a very tiny portion of that passionate fanbase can take matters into their own hands and cross the line. The Nets need to prepare for the crowd in what will be a very tough couple of days.