Shaq and Charles Barkley aren’t right here for Kyrie Irving’s “dark side” that he admittedly embraced whereas flipping off followers within the Nets’ 115-114 Game 1 loss to the Celtics on Monday (AEST).
After the sport, Irving stated his double-bird to Boston followers was courtesy of him “keeping that same energy” hecklers delivered to TD Garden throughout Monday’s first spherical sequence opener.
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“I don’t really wanna hear all that,” Shaq stated on “Inside the NBA” on TNT in the course of the halftime break of the Bucks-Bulls sport.
“Certain cities, they don’t care what you say at the press conference. You know what’s going to happen in Game 2? They’re going to be talking more smack up there in Boston … It happens to the best of us,” he added, noting his time taking part in for the Celtics in 2010-11 — his closing NBA season.
Charles Barkley chimed in and stated, “Please stop it, you athletes of today, whining.”
“Man up,” Shaq added.
Irving performed for Boston from 2017-19 and has been a Celtics villain since he left the organisation. Last season, Irving was hit with a water bottle by a Boston fan after he stepped on the Celtics brand at middle court docket in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
On Monday, Irving scored 39 factors as Boston followers booed him on each shot he took. During the sport, the purpose guard was seen mocking Celtics devoted, and at one level held up two center fingers behind his head on the crowd.
“Look, where I’m from, I’m used to all these antics and people being close nearby,” Irving stated after the sport.
“It’s nothing new when I come into this building what it’s going to be like — but it’s the same energy they have for me, I’m going to have the same energy for them.
“And it’s not every fan, I don’t want to attack every fan, every Boston fan. When people start yelling ‘p—y’ or ‘b—ch’ and ‘f–k you’ and all this stuff, there’s only but so much you take as a competitor. We’re the ones expected to be docile and be humble, take a humble approach, f–k that, it’s the playoffs. This is what it is.”
“I know what to expect in here,” Irving continued.
“And it’s the same energy I’m giving back to them. It is what it is. I’m not really focused on it, it’s fun, you know what I’m saying?
“Where I’m from I’ve dealt with so much, so coming in here you relish it as a competitor. … This isn’t my first time at TD Garden so what you guys saw, what you guys think is entertainment, or the fans think is entertainment, all is fair in competition. So if somebody’s going to call me out on my name, I’m gonna look at them straight in the eye and see if they really ’bout it. Most of the time they’re not.”
Irving additionally claimed that this wasn’t the primary time he’s flipped off followers throughout a sport.
“This is the first time you actually caught it because this is a big-time game,” he stated.
“I respond in different ways. I’m not trying to focus on that. If you want to ask me questions about the fans, go ask them. Go on the street and ask them questions.”
When requested if the “energy” from the Boston crowd introduced out one of the best in his sport, Irving stated, “Embrace it. Embrace it. It’s the dark side. Embrace it.”
Last month, Irving in contrast Celtics followers to a “scorned girlfriend,” following a Nets loss to Boston.
On Monday, he stated he’s not targeted on his historical past together with his former workforce.
“Don’t care at this point. … I’m on the Brooklyn Nets. I’m happy to be with my teammates and competing out there,” he stated.
This article initially appeared on the New York Post and has been reposted with permission