Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MA - MAY 28: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets is double teamed by Robert Williams III and Kemba Walker #8 of the Boston Celtics during Game Three of the Eastern Conference first round series at TD Garden on May 28, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Kyrie Irving’s highly-anticipated playoff return to TD Garden took place in front of a 25 percent capacity crowd Friday night. The crowd lived up to the hype, letting the former Celtics point guard hear the boos from the moment he stepped on the floor.

The jeering hit a crescendo when Irving was introduced in the Nets’ starting lineups.

Of course, the Celtics faithful didn’t stop once the game began. For the most part, it was straight boos whenever Irving touched the ball. However, there were occasions that a certain chant broke out as well. (Headphones warning, language NSFW)

Why so much hostility? Incase you managed to miss the three-year long saga, Irving was traded to the Celtics before the 2017-2018 season. He regularly talked about wanting to be a lifelong member of the franchise, at one point telling an arena full of fans he planned to sign an extension with the team “if you’ll have me.”

However, that extension never came. He regularly seemed disengaged during his two-year tenure. In 2019, he played in the All-Star Game despite injuries holding him out of games before and after. After a disappointing performance in his final playoff series – of which he responded by telling reporters ‘who cares?’ – he left in free agency to sign with the Nets. Many fans trace the team’s current issues to Irving’s departure.

Through one half, the fans may be having some impact – Irving had just two points in the first half on 1-of-5 shooting, while the Celtics erased an early 19-4 deficit to lead 61-57 at the break.