Kyrie Irving did not travel to Boston on Wednesday night for the Brooklyn Nets' meeting with the Celtics as he remains sidelined with a shoulder impingement, but he still took note of what the Boston crowd had to say about him in his absence.
A disgruntled Boston crowd was to be expected. Irving opted to become a free agent this past offseason despite making a promise to Celtics fans to re-sign with the team following the 2018-19 season. Irving's absence did not deter the fans, who posted fliers of the team's former point guard on telephone poles outside TD Garden with "coward" stamped over Irving's face.
Other fliers placed Irving's face on the Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz."
Fans booed and had posters that stated "Kemba [Walker] > Kyrie" and featured Irving's face pasted on Waldo from "Where's Waldo?" From the start, "Where is Kyrie?" and "Kyrie sucks" chants were abundant.
Walker, who joined the Celtics in the offseason, dropped 39 points in the Celtics' 121-110 win.
Following the game, Irving took to Instagram Stories with a message in response to Boston's actions on Wednesday night.
"It happens all the time and Tonight just shows how Sports/Entertainment will always be ignorant and obtrusive," Irving wrote. "It's one big SHOW that means Very VERY little in the real world that most people live in because there are Actually things that matter going on within it."
In the lengthy statement, Irving went on to reference the struggles he went through during his time in Boston, including dealing with the passing of his grandfather.
"This Game of Sports entertainment matters more than someone's mental health and well being right?" Irving continued. "Or the real things that happen to people everyday but they still have to Perform for the NBA its fans? Right?
"It's all about doing it for the fans and organization that you love so much? Think again."
The response comes after Irving has admitted to letting down Boston fans.
"I failed those guys," Irving said. "In terms of me being a leader in that environment and bringing everyone together, I failed."
Nets center Jarrett Allen said following Wednesday night's game that he expected the heckling to be worse.
"It was better than I thought," Allen said, according to ESPN's Malika Andrews. "They could've booed us every time we touched the ball. If Kyrie was here, it probably would've been 10 times worse."
Irving may have to face Celtics fans when Brooklyn visits Boston again on March 3, 2020. Until then, his Instagram message speaks for his feelings of their actions.
"This GAME isn't meant to be controlled and shown as a Drama, it's meant to show the LOVE," Irving wrote. "Love for the Art is the Only damn thing that keeps the purist people in the Giant Sports/Entertainment Circus. Don't fall for the Game that's played in front of you as Entertainment, it'll never be as serious dealing with LIFE."