The Brooklyn Nets guard spoke following Sunday’s Game 1 against the Celtics about the hostility he’s faced from the Boston crowd and his responses to the fans.
- It looked like there were a couple of times where you gave the fans a finger. I'm curious, was there anything that you thought crossed the line today, and are you the kind of guy that you, kind of, use that internally as something to fire you up?
KYRIE IRVING: Look, I mean, I'm just-- where I'm from, you know, I'm used to all these antics and people being close nearby. You know, 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. And 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. But, you know, when people start yelling [BLEEP] and all this stuff, it's just so much you can take as a competitor. And, you know, we're the ones expected to be docile and be humble, and take a humble approach. Not [BLEEP] that's the playoffs. It is what it is. You know, I know what to expect in here 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? Like-- like, again, where I'm from, I've dealt with so much. So coming in here, you relish it as a competitor.
And, you know, I'm gonna keep repeating myself when I say again, but this isn't my first time at TD Garden. So what you guys saw and what you guys think is entertainment or the fans think is entertainment, all is fair in competition. You know, so if somebody is going to call me out of my name, I'm going to look at them straight in the eye and see if they really about it. Most of the time, they're not.
- Do you feel like the hostility that you get--
KYRIE IRVING: There's no hostility, bro. It's basketball.
- Well, you were flicking some people off. I'd say that's some hostility.
KYRIE IRVING: From what? What point? Are you guessing that there's hostility or, like-- Hostility for me is like growing up.
- We've never seen that from you this season, where you are running down the floor flicking people off.
KYRIE IRVING: It's the first time you actually caught it because it's a big time game. I respond in different ways, you know what I'm saying? 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, all right?
- So I'm asking from your perspective, from basketball perspective, do you feel like the hostility that you get--
KYRIE IRVING: It's not hostility, bro.
- Do you feel like the energy you get from fans in this building--
KYRIE IRVING: Embrace it.
- --best from you.
KYRIE IRVING: Embrace it, embrace it. It's the dark side. Embrace it.
- I know you said you wanted the Celtics fans to move forward. Do you feel as if that could ever happen?
KYRIE IRVING: I Don't care at this point. Let's just get to the series and talk about our possessions and how we can get better. I'm not going to focus on the past with Boston. I'm the Brooklyn Nets and happy to be with my teammates and competing out there.