(Reuters) – Boston guard Marcus Smart hopes the crowd at Friday’s NBA playoff game at home against Brooklyn will be “respectful” when former Celtic Kyrie Irving returns with the Nets.
The conduct of fans has been an issue for the NBA this week, with five spectators hit with indefinite bans for “completely unacceptable” behaviour towards players and their families in separate incidents on Wednesday.
Irving, who played for the Celtics from 2017-19, was quoted as saying by ESPN https://www.espn.in/nba/story/_/id/31512569/kyrie-irving-brooklyn-nets-plan-just-keep-strictly-basketball-upcoming-trip-boston on Tuesday he hoped, “there’s no belligerence or racism going on …” when his team, who lead the series 2-0, travel to TD Garden for Game 3.
Smart said he wanted Celtics fans to be “very respectful” of all players.
“We were kind of seen around the league now with a couple other incidents with fans in the crowd,” he said on Thursday.
“We don’t want our crowd to be like that.”
Speaking to The Players Tribune https://www.theplayerstribune.com/posts/marcus-smart-nba-boston-celtics-covid-racial-injustice, Smart said he had witnessed fans racially abusing players in Boston last year.
“It’s kind of sad and sickening,” he said. “Even though it’s an opposing team, we’ve had guys on your home team that you’re saying these racial slurs and you expect us to go out here and play for you. It’s tough.”
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)