Nets’ Kevin Durant understands why Boston fans despise teammate Kyrie Irving. Before his contract expired in 2019, Irving announced that he would stay with the Celtics. Of course, he then proceeded to sign as a free agent with the Nets on Jul. 6, 2019. When the guard made his final decision, the Boston fanbase felt betrayed by Irving. Indeed, it’s not so much that he left as it is how he went about choosing his exit.
Additionally, the seven-time All-Star never showed the city any love on his way out the door. Irving even stomped on the leprechaun logo at center court. Then, in Game 1 of the Nets’ first-round playoff series against the Celtics, Irving flipped the bird to Celtics fans at TD Garden before inbounding the ball during the fourth quarter. Is this all just for fun, or does Kyrie Irving actually mean it?
This is a lingering issue that other NBA players are facing today. Although, the reasons vary from one player to another. Teammate Kevin Durant decided to comment on the subject matter.
“It’s rooted in love,” explained Durant. “They once loved you. They once cheered for you and bought your merchandise and had life-altering experiences coming to games watching you play.” Kyrie Irving is no exception to this observation.
Furthermore, there was also a time when Kevin Garnett and Tom Brady tried to recruit Durant to the Celtics when Doc Rivers was coaching the team. However, that’s a story for another day.
“So, when that kind of thing gets ripped from them from just something like a trade or demanding a trade or wanting to leave, it feels like a piece of them is gone too,” he continued.
“So, it’s an emotional attachment they have for professional sports. And that’s a gift and curse of having a team in your city where you grew up. But it shows that people care, and people have emotions and people really accept and admire who we are as individuals.”
Kevin Durant overcame issues in the past, just like Kyrie Irving
Needless to say, Durant knows this truth better than anyone. Well, besides LeBron James. Durant was roasted on social media after he decided to join the Golden State Warriors after the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to them in Game 7 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals.
Moreover, Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City irked Russell Westbrook especially. To this day, the forward downplays a quarrel he had or still has with Westbrook. Having said all of this, Durant left the Warriors showing nothing but class. He thanked his coaches, teammates, the organization and the fanbase.
At this point, Celtics fans’ disgust towards Irving is clearly personal. The guard has made no effort to apologize or just let old wounds heal. When he responds to the fanbase in such a negative manner, it’s only adding fuel to the fire. It sounds like this is what he wants.
On Jul. 6, 2019, Irving signed a four-year, $136.49 million contract with the Nets. He has a player option worth $36,503,300 for the 2022-23 season. According to Basketball-Reference, Kyrie Irving has a hall of fame probability of 83.7%.
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