Irving blasts ‘human zoo’ environment at arenas after fan throws bottle
Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving said NBA arenas had become like “human zoos” after a fan was arrested for throwing a water bottle at the former Celtic guard on Sunday.
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.
A bottle of water appeared to have been thrown at Kyrie Irving as the Nets were exiting the floor in Boston. pic.twitter.com/u6pZDCaArJ
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 31, 2021
Let his play do the talking.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) May 31, 2021
The Athletic reported the fan could be banned for life from Boston’s TD Garden.
“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.”
"It's unfortunate that sports has come to a lot of this kind of crossroads. … Just underlying racism and just treating people like they're in a human zoo."
Kyrie Irving speaks out after a fan threw a water bottle at him in Boston. pic.twitter.com/IXfE8I0EE8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 31, 2021
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.
Nets forward Kevin Durant said fans need to “grow up.”
“We are not animals, we are not in the circus,” he added. “You coming to the game is not all about you as a fan. So, have some respect for the game.”
Reuters has requested comment from the NBA.