Mavericks’ Irving Discusses Tumultuous Celtics History

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks speaks to the media during the 2024 NBA Finals Media Day | Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Leading into the NBA Finals, Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving has opened up about his tumultuous history with the Boston Celtics and how he has become a different player and person.

Following a trade from his initial professional team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in 2017, Irving spent two seasons playing for the Celtics, where he promised to re-sign with the team before leaving in free agency.

After his decision to back out of the promise and his departure from the Celtics, Irving had multiple run-ins with the team and fans during previous NBA Playoff runs that made headlines.

One such incident occurred during the 2021 playoffs, when Irving, as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, faced the Celtics. In this incident, he seemingly stomped his foot over the Celtics’ logo, Lucky the Leprechaun.

Another incident occurred in the 2022 playoffs when he flashed his middle finger at Boston fans, resulting in the NBA fining him $50,000.

“Last time in Boston, when we played in the playoffs, and everyone saw me flip off the birds and kind of lose my s— a little bit, that wasn’t a great reflection of who I am and how I like to compete on a high level,” Irving recalled, according to The Athletic.

“It wasn’t a great reflection on my influence on the next generation, (with) what it means to control your emotions in that type of environment no matter what people are yelling at you.”

Irving further addressed these incidents and his controversial history with the Boston crowd while speaking with reporters, noting that he is “still human at the end of the day” and that the mistakes came because he wasn’t his “best self during that time.”

“When I look back on it, I just see it as a time where I learned how to let go of things and learned how to talk through my emotions,” Irving added, per ESPN.

Irving said that his time spent in Boston and the incidents that have occurred since have taught him “how to move and let go of the past.”

“It could cripple you if you allow it to. I’ve been bombarded with Boston questions since I left, people trying to figure out what actually happened, but I think the full story will come out probably when I’m retired or when it’s appropriate,” he explained, per The Athletic.

Since being traded to the Mavericks at the trade deadline in the 2022-23 season, Irving has said that his time in Dallas has been the “greatest” part of his career because of the impact he’s been able to have on younger teammates.

“To be able to now give wisdom and also speak from a place of experience. When you’re a young person, again, you’re trying to speed through life, you’re trying to get through everything,” he said, per Yahoo Sports.

Dallas will now look to complete its season with a series win in the NBA Finals. The team will be competing in the year’s final series for the first time since Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks to a championship in 2011.

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