Irving embraces ‘dark side’

Kyrie Irving opened the 2021 playoffs with a 39-point explosion at Boston, making the former Celtic standout Public Enemy No. 1 in Massachusetts. He is poised for further volatility through the rest of the series.



April 18, 2022 - 2:03 PM

Kyrie Irving (11) of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles downcourt against Jaylen Brown (7) of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of Round 1 Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs at TD Garden on April 17, 2022, in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images/TNS)

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving made it clear: He’s going to “embrace the dark side.” He’s going to give Celtics fans the same energy they give him.

On yet another night at the TD Garden laden with boos and expletives directed at Irving, the former Celtic who left the green and white for Brooklyn’s black and gray three offseasons ago, the Nets’ All-Star guard gave Boston fans the middle finger on multiple occasions — including a behind-the-head double-finger — and cursed out a fan during halftime of the Nets’ Game 1 loss to the Celtics on Sunday.

“It’s nothing new when I come into this building what it’s gonna be like, but it’s the same energy they had for me, and imma have the same energy for them,” Irving said after hanging 39 points in the losing effort. “And it’s not every fan. I don’t want to attack every Boston fan, but when people start yelling ‘p—-,’ and ‘b—-,’ and ‘f— you,’ and all this other stuff, there’s only but so much you can take as a competitor, and we’re the ones expected to be docile and be humble and take a humble approach.”

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