Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving calls NBA arenas ‘a human ZOO’ as fan is arrested for throwing water bottle at his head at end of play-off game against Boston Celtics – and fan ‘is set to be banned for LIFE’
- Brooklyn Nets beat Boston Celtics 141-126 on Sunday in the first-round playoff
- Kyrie Irving scored 39 points but was inches from being hit by a water bottle
- That fan, 21-year-old Cole Buckley, was arrested and charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and will be arraigned Tuesday
- The Athletic reported Buckley could be banned for life from Boston’s TD Garden
- Irving has complained about the behavior of fans inside NBA arenas
- Irving’s teammate Kevin Durant said ‘fans have got to grow up at some point’
Video posted on social media showed the bottle narrowly missed Irving, who scored 39 points in Game 4 as the Nets beat the Celtics 141-126 to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
That fan, 21-year-old Cole Buckley, was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and will be arraigned Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court.
The Athletic reported Buckley could be banned for life from Boston’s TD Garden. Following the loss, Celtics supporters appeared to have been further angered by Irving’s decision to drag his foot across the team’s logo at mid-court.
A fan lobbed a bottle at Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving (top) after the clash with Boston Celtics
The fan was spotted by security and lead away in handcuffs, and could face a lifetime ban
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
‘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 match.
‘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.’
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.
The Nets guard has spoken-out about the treatment of NBA players from fans inside the arenas
Irving scored 39 points against his old team before the evening turned sour as he walked off
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.’