Kyrie Irving on Celtics fans in NBA Finals Game 1, 'I thought it was gonna be a little louder in here'


Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics fans that fill TD Garden don’t exactly have the best relationship. At a 2018 event in the arena, he promised fans in attendance that he planned to re-sign with the team as a free agent in 2019. One year later, he was playing for the Brooklyn Nets. When he returned to Boston for a playoff series in 2021, he notoriously scuffed his shoe on the face of Celtics center-court mascot Lucky the Leprechaun, drawing the ire of Boston fans once again. On his way off of the floor, one fan even threw a bottle of water at him. That fan was later arrested.

It has been three years since then, and Irving has even faced the Celtics in another series. The fans still boo him whenever he touches the ball. But even after losing Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals in Boston as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Irving had to let it slip that he wasn’t exactly impressed with the energy that the Celtics fans brought to the arena.

“Being in this environment, I’m used to it at this point. Early in my career, there was a different relationship that I had with Boston,” Irving said. “Just being able to come here and be settled with a veteran group. Now I’m here as the veteran. Over the past few years, just experiencing the playoffs here, even the regular season, it’s been the same thing. 

“I thought it was gonna be a little louder in here.” Irving added that he knows that the crowd will try to distract him, but he liked the shots he was getting. They just didn’t go in.

Irving had played 13 playoff games in Boston before Game 1, so he’s quite familiar with what Boston fans are capable of. Without accurate logs of decibel readings from each of those games, it’s hard to know for certain where exactly this Game 1 crowd stacks up compared to other playoff games Irving has played in Boston. 

No matter how loud the fans were, whatever they did worked. Boston waltzed to a 107-89 Game 1 victory, and the Celtics are now three wins away from the NBA championship. If that’s how well the Celtics can play with a crowd that isn’t as loud as Irving expected, he’d better hope the fans don’t bring it for Game 2 on Sunday.





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