Kyrie Irving will be a little lighter in the wallet on Wednesday after the NBA handed down a $50,000 fine for swearing and giving the middle finger to fans at TD Garden during Game 1.
The ruling was handed down by NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell. Irving was penalized for “making obscene gestures on the playing court and directing profane language toward the spectator stands,” the NBA said in a statement.
The fine was the maximum allowed under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
Irving was caught multiple times giving the middle finger to fans, once after hitting a shot late in the game as he went back to play defense and the other time came as he was inbounding the ball. A video on social media showed another instance where Irving directed derogatory language after the fan made a derogatory comment himself towards the Nets superstar as he went to the locker room.
At the time Irving told reporters that he was just giving back the same energy to the fans that they were giving to him during the game. Irving was relentlessly booed, jeered and cursed at during Game 1.
The Nets point guard is not a beloved figure in Boston after he departed to join Kevin Durant in Brooklyn in 2019. Things between Boston fans and Irving only grew more hostile last year after he stepped on the logo at center court at TD Garden.
“Everybody has different moods. Some days you might be up for it, some days you might not, but (Irving) understands what this job entails,” Kevin Durant told reporters on Tuesday about Irving’s role as a Boston villain. “We understand what the situation is. He might not be in the mood for it next game, who knows. It’s just a feel thing and you never know what might trigger you in the moment. Someone might say something in the moment to get you to react. NBA crowds in the playoffs tend to try to pick at players, especially ones that played for a team previously.
“We all understand that stuff and Kyrie’s reaction was his reaction. We all still behind him. I feel him. Exactly what he said, the same energy they giving off to him he going to give it right back. And he played that way.”
The Nets and Celtics face one another in Game 2 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.