Shaq, Charles Barkley tear up Kyrie Irving for middle finger drama

Shaq and Charles Barkley aren’t here for Kyrie Irving’s “dark side,” which he admittedly embraced as he knocked out fans in the Nets’ 115-114 Game 1 loss to the Celtics on Sunday.

After the game, Irving said his double-bird to the Boston fans was thanks to him for “maintaining the same energy” that brought heckling during Sunday’s first-round opener at TD Garden.

“I don’t really want to hear any of that,” Shaq said on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” during the halftime break of the Bucks-Bulls game.

“Some cities don’t care what you say at the press conference. Do you know what will happen in game 2? They’ll talk better up there in Boston… That happens to the best of us,” he added, referring to his time playing for the Celtics in 2010-11 – his final NBA season.

Kyrie Irvin showing the middle finger to Celtics fans on April 17, 2022
Kyrie Irvin showing the middle finger to Celtics fans on April 17, 2022
Shawn Gil/Twitter
Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving (11) knocks out Celtics fans during the Nets’ Game 1 loss April 17, 2022 in Boston.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Charles Barkley chimed in and said, “Please, athletes of today, stop whining.”

“Man up,” Shaq added.

Irving played for Boston from 2017-19 and has been a Celtics villain since leaving the organization. Last season, Irving was hit with a water bottle by a Boston fan after he stepped on the Celtics logo on center court in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

On Sunday, Irving scored 39 points as Boston fans booed him with every shot. During the game, the point guard was seen poking fun at Celtics supporters and at one point he held up two middle fingers behind his head at the crowd.

“Look, where I’m from, I’m used to all these antics and people around,” Irving said after the game. “It’s nothing new coming into this building as it will be – but it’s the same energy they have for me, I will have the same energy for them.

“And it’s not every fan, I don’t want to attack every fan, every Boston fan. When people start yelling “p—y” or “b—ch” and “f–k you” and all that stuff, there’s only a limited number of matches. We’re the ones expected to be docile and humble, take a humble approach, damn it, it’s the playoffs. That’s it.”

“I know what to expect here,” Irving continued. “And it’s the same energy that I give back to them. It is what it is. I don’t really focus on it, it’s fun, you know what I mean?

“I’ve been involved with so much where I’m from, so you come here and enjoy it as a competitor. … This isn’t my first time at TD Garden, so what you’ve seen, what you think is entertainment, or what the fans think is entertainment, it’s all fair competition. So when someone calls me by my name, I look them straight in the eye and see if they really mean it. Most of the time they are not.”

Kyrie Irving Shaq
Shaq on Sunday on TNT.
Kyrie Irving
Charles Barkley on Sunday on TNT.

Irving also claimed that this wasn’t the first time he’d upset fans during a game.

“This is the first time you’ve actually caught it because this is a big game,” he said. “I react in different ways. I try not to focus on that. If you want to ask me questions about the fans, go to them. Take to the streets and ask them questions.”

When asked if the “energy” of the Boston crowd brought out the best in his game, Irving said, “Embrace it. hug it It’s the dark side. Embrace it.”

Last month, Irving likened Celtics fans to a “despised girlfriend” after the Nets lost to Boston. On Sunday, he said he wasn’t focused on his history with his former team.

“I don’t care at this point. … I’m in the Brooklyn Nets. I’m happy to be with my teammates and competing out there,” he said.

Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday at 7pm ET in Boston. Shaq, Charles Barkley tear up Kyrie Irving for middle finger drama


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