Irving, who was walking into an arena tunnel when he was almost hit, had recently asked fans not to be belligerent or racist when the Nets traveled to Boston.
Its been that way in history, in terms of entertainment, performers and sports for a long period of time and just underlying racism and just treating people like theyre in a human zoo, Irving said. Throwing stuff at them, saying things. Theres a certain point where it just gets to be too much.
Irving was heading into an arena tunnel after the Nets beat the Celtics, 141-126, when an object that appeared to be a water bottle sailed just past his head. Multiple videos on social media showed a person in a Celtics jersey being led away by the police.
The bottle-throwing followed a run of incidents from last Wednesday night: In Philadelphia, a fan poured popcorn on the head of Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook as he left the game with an injury. In New York, a fan spat on Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young at Madison Square Garden. In Utah, security ejected three fans for obscene behavior toward the family of Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.
Weve had times in history when people have reacted and gone in the crowd, then were wrong and we need to be civilized and we need to keep our calm and we need to keep our cool and its reflected on us, Irving said. Just want to keep it upfront and truthful, and its just unacceptable for that stuff to be happening, but we move on.
Following Wednesdays incidents, the N.B.A. released a statement saying its fan code of conduct would be vigorously enforced. The fans involved in those incidents have been barred indefinitely from the arenas.