Kyrie Irving said fans in NBA arenas are treating players “like they are in a human zoo” after a supporter was arrested for throwing a water bottle at the Brooklyn Nets guard on Sunday.
The bottle narrowly missed Irving as he left the court following the Nets’ 141-126 win over the Boston Celtics.
Irving said the sport was now “at a crossroads”.
Kyrie got UP
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 31, 2021
“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,” he said.
Last week, the Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook had to be restrained by security after a fan poured popcorn over him.
The Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young was spat on while three fans of the Utah Jazz were removed from the arena after heckling the family of the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant.
7 + 11 + 13 = W
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) May 31, 2021
Irving’s Nets team-mate Kevin Durant said fans need to “grow up”.
“We are not animals, we are not in the circus,” he said. “You coming to the game is not all about you as a fan. So, have some respect for the game.”
Irving scored 39 points as the Nets took a 3-1 play-off series lead with the win over his former side.