After earning a 22-point victory against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are headed to Boston for game three of their first-round series against the Celtics. Irving has had a tough history with the Celtics in recent years. Irving played for the Celtics for two seasons and led them to a playoff appearance, but many critics felt they underachieved After a messy split in 2019, his return to Boston has many expecting that fans will harass him. While Irving is aware of what may come, he's hoping that he can focus on playing playoff basketball and winning the series.
"I am just looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully, we can just keep it strictly basketball; there's no belligerence or racism going on -- subtle racism," Irving said during a recent press conference.
"People yelling s--- from the crowd, but even if it is, it's part of the nature of the game and we're just going to focus on what we can control."
When asked if he's endured racist remarks while playing in Boston, he said that he "was not the only one that can attest to this." Over the years, a number of Black athletes have experienced racism while playing in Boston. Most notably, Celtics legend Bill Russell called the city a "flea market of racism." In 2017, Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles said that he was called a "n-----" several times while playing at Fenway Park.
"It is what it is," Irving said about experiencing racism in Boston.
"The whole world knows it."
Game three of the first-round series is set to take place on May 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET. With a win, the Nets would take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. Only two teams in modern NBA history have rallied to win a series after being down 3-0. Simply put, the outcome of the series will likely be determined on Friday.
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