The knucklehead fan accused of hurling a water bottle at Nets star Kyrie Irving after Sunday’s playoff game against the Boston Celtics will be arraigned Tuesday on one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to multiple reports.
Boston police said 21-year-old Cole Buckley of Braintree (MA) was arrested at TD Garden after “a witness reported he threw a Dasani water bottle that grazed the head of Irving, Jennifer Egan of ABC affiliate WCVB-TV reported.
Irving and the Nets spoke out pointedly afterward about the latest NBA incident involving a fan during this postseason, with the former Celtics guard saying the atmosphere felt like a form of racism.
“It’s unfortunate that sports has come to this kind of crossroads,” Irving said, “where you are seeing old ways come up … underlying racism and treating people like they are in a human zoo.”
Irving, who played two seasons for Boston before signing with the Nets as a free agent in 2019, scored 39 points in Brooklyn’s 141-126 victory to take a 3-1 series lead. He had stomped on the Celtics’ logo at center court moments before the alleged incident with Buckley, who was wearing a green Kevin Garnett jersey.
“Fans got to grow up at some point,” Irving’s teammate Kevin Durant said. “I know being in the house for one and a half years has a lot of people on edge and a lot of people stressed out. But when you come to a game you have to realize these men are human. We are not animals in a circus.
“Have some respect for the game. Have some respect for human beings. Have some respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn’t be proud of you throwing water at basketball players. Grow the f–k up and enjoy the game. It’s bigger than you.”
Sunday’s instance was not the first involving a fan during these playoffs. A fan was banned from Madison Square Garden last week for spitting at Hawks guard Trae Young in Game 2 of the Knicks’ first-round playoff series. Wizards guard Russell Westbrook also had popcorn dumped on him in Philadelphia.
“It used to happen back in the day, a lot of older players went through it,” Irving said. “Any great person, great entertainer understands that when you’re achieving something bigger than you, you’re going to have a lot of adversity, animosity, and you just got to figure out a way to deal with it.
“Tonight, I thought we collectively dealt with it. Anything could’ve happened with that water bottle being thrown at me. But my brothers were surrounded around me, I had people in the crowd.”
An arena spokesperson said in a statement Sunday night that TD Garden has “zero tolerance for violations of our guest code of conduct, and the guest is subject to a lifetime ban” from the arena. A second fan also was booked Sunday night on a charge of assault and battery of a police officer, according to multiple reports.