A 21-year-old man has been charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon after allegedly throwing a water bottle at Kyrie Irving after the Nets’ star stomped on the Celtics logo at the end of Boston’s playoff loss to Brooklyn on Sunday.
The man has been identified as Cole Buckley of Braintree, Massachusetts. He was taken into custody, wearing a green Celtics Kevin Garnett jersey, minutes after the incident. His arraignment is set for Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court.
The bottle did not strike Irving, but it caught his attention, and he and several teammates stopped and had words with the fan, who faces a lifetime ban from TD Garden.
A fan lobbed a bottle at Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving (top) after the clash with Boston Celtics
Cole Buckley was taken into custody, wearing a green Celtics Kevin Garnett jersey, minutes after the incident. His arraignment is set for Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court
Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving scrapes his foot on the Boston Celtics logo at mid-court after they defeated the Celtics in Game 4 during an NBA basketball first-round playoff series
The man has been identified as Cole Buckley of Braintree, Massachusetts. He was taken into custody, wearing a green Celtics Kevin Garnett jersey, minutes after the incident. His arraignment is set for Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court
The Nets won 141-126 to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series. After the victory, Irving made a point to step on the Celtics logo at midcourt before heading to the locker room.
Irving addressed the occurrence after the game.
‘People just feel very entitled out here,’ Irving said. ‘They paid for the tickets. Great. I’m grateful they’re coming in to watch a great performance. But we’re not at the theater. We’re not throwing tomatoes and other random stuff at the people that are performing. It’s too much. And it’s a reflection on us as a whole.’
‘It’s unfortunate that sports has come to this crossroads where a lot of old ways are coming up,’ Irving, who played for the Celtics from 2017-19, said after the game.
‘It’s been that way for entertainment for a long time with underlying racism and just treating people like they are in a human zoo.’
Irving drew boos throughout the game from the crowd of 17,226. He played for Boston for two seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19 before heading to Brooklyn, despite telling fans he intended to re-sign with the Celtics
Irving scored 39 points and had 11 rebounds in the game. Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday night in Brooklyn.
The Nets guard has spoken-out about the treatment of NBA players from fans inside the arenas
Cole Buckley (21 of Braintree) is charged with A+B & facing a life ban from TD Garden for allegedly throwing a water bottle at Kyrie Irving last night. Irving, who stomped on the C¿s logo at half court moments before, says banning fans who mistreat players won¿t solve the problem pic.twitter.com/nKYP6LliCV
— Juliana Mazza (@julianamazzatv) May 31, 2021
Irving scored 39 points against his old team before the evening turned sour as he walked off
The conduct of fans has been an issue for the NBA lately, with five spectators hit with indefinite bans for ‘completely unacceptable’ behavior towards players and their families in separate incidents last week. In one incident, a Knicks fan was caught spitting at Hawks star Trae Young while in another, a 76ers fan was caught throwing popcorn on Washington’s Russell Westbrook.
On Sunday, Nets forward Kevin Durant said fans need to ‘grow up’.
‘Fans have got to grow up at some point,’ Durant said. ‘I know that being in the house for a year and a half with the pandemic has got a lot of people on edge, has got a lot of people stressed out. But when you come to these games you’ve got to realize: These men are human. We’re not animals. We’re not in the circus.
‘You coming to the game is not all about you as a fan. So have some respect for the game. Have some respect for the human beings. And have some respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn’t be proud of you throwing water bottles at basketball players, or spitting on players or tossing popcorn. So grow the (expletive) up and enjoy the game,’ he said. ‘It’s bigger than you.’
On Sunday, Nets forward Kevin Durant (left, No. 7 in black) said fans need to ‘grow up’
Echoing statements from other black athletes, Irving said last week that he hoped to avoid any ‘subtle racism’ in Boston for Games 3 and 4, adding that ‘the whole world knows’ about the city’s reputation for prejudice against African Americans.
‘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 video press conference following the Nets’ Game 2 win on Tuesday.
Bill Russell (second from left) called Boston a ‘flea market of racism’ and insisted in 1972 that his number be retired in a private ceremony at Boston Garden (pictured) because he didn’t want to do it in front of fans
‘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.’
Irving is not the first athlete to accuse the Boston area of racism.
In 2017, Baltimore Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones said he was called the n-word several times by Red Sox fans at Boston’s Fenway Park.
Another black centerfielder, Torii Hunter, revealed in 2020 that he had been called the n-word ‘100 times’ at Fenway Park and once had a bag of peanuts thrown at him in the outfield. He even inserted a clause in several contracts, prohibiting clubs from trading him to Boston.
Celtics legend Bill Russell saw his house vandalized with racist graffiti in a suburb of the city in 1966 — the same year he was promoted to player-coach to become the first black head coach in major North American sports.
Later he called the city a ‘flea market of racism’ and insisted in 1972 that his number be retired in a private ceremony at Boston Garden because he didn’t want to do the proceedings in front of the fans.
Irving’s previous returns to Boston came this season, during the pandemic, so fans were not in attendance.
A fan of Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics shows off his haircut before a game between the Boston Celtics and the Memphis Grizzlies at TD Garden on February 26, 2018 in Boston
The city has a love-hate relationship with the former Celtics star. Irving endeared himself to Boston faithful by interacting with fans, signing autographs, giving away his sneakers to spectators after games, and promising to re-sign with the Celtics in February of 2019
The city has a love-hate relationship with the former Celtics star.
Irving endeared himself to Boston faithful by interacting with fans, signing autographs, giving away his sneakers to spectators after games, and promising to re-sign with the Celtics in February of 2019.
That summer, however, he and former MVP Kevin Durant decided to team up in Brooklyn, and Boston signed oft-injured All-Star Kemba Walker to fill Irving’s role in the Celtics’ backcourt.
Now, Irvin and the Nets hold a 2-0 lead against a Boston team that is without injured All-Star Jaylen Brown (wrist surgery) and is coming off a 22-point loss.
Boston’s racial divisions became national news in the 1970s as the city began busing black students to white neighborhoods in an attempt to integrate the institutions.
Riots routinely broke out during anti-busing protests. During one incident in 1977, civil rights attorney Ted Landsmark was photographed being speared by a white teenager using an American flag. The picture ultimately won a Pulitzer Prize.
The city is currently being run by its first black mayor, Kim Janey, who took over when Marty Walsh was appointed President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Labor. Janey has vowed to lead ‘Boston through a lens of equity, justice, and love.’
In 2019, Irving and former MVP Kevin Durant decided to team up in Brooklyn, and Boston signed oft-injured All-Star Kemba Walker to fill Irving’s role in the Celtics’ backcourt. In this 2019 picture, a fan shows his preference for Walker over Irving.