Kevin Durant shares thoughtful take on Kyrie Irving-Celtics dynamic

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KD shares thoughtful opinion on Kyrie's dynamic with Celtics fans originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We knew Boston Celtics fans would let Kyrie Irving hear it Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. But some may not have expected Irving to give it right back.

Irving was seen making several obscene gestures to Celtics fans during the Brooklyn Nets' Game 1 loss to Boston and defended his actions after the game, saying, "It's the same energy they have for me, and I'm gonna have the same energy for them."

The NBA fined Irving $50,000 on Tuesday for his actions, but Celtics fans certainly aren't going to stop booing the former Boston guard in Game 2. So, will Irving continue to "have the same energy" at TD Garden on Wednesday night?

His Nets partner-in-crime isn't so sure.

Bean: Deep down, Kyrie and Celtics fans were made for each other

"Everybody's got different moods," Durant told reporters Tuesday, via The Athletic's Jared Weiss. "Some days he might be up for it, some days he might not. But he understands what his job entails. ... He might not be in the mood for it next game, who knows? It's just a feel thing. You never know what might trigger you in the moment if somebody says something to get you to react.

"NBA crowds in the playoffs tend to try to pick at players, especially ones that played for their team previously. So, we all understand that stuff. Kyrie's reaction was his reaction, and we all stood behind it. "

Durant speaks from experience, as he made plenty of enemies in Oklahoma City for leaving the Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

Durant and Irving's situations aren't exactly alike -- Durant didn't promise to re-sign with OKC before leaving for Golden State, like Irving did with Boston before joining Brooklyn in 2019 -- but Durant still has a better perspective on Irving's relationship with Celtics fans than most.

"I think it’s all in the game," Durant said. "(Fans) come for the experience of watching the game, and you might have to get something back from one of the players if you say something. That’s just the nature of the beast now.

"It's rooted in love. They once loved you, once cheered for you, bought your merchandise and had life-altering experiences coming to games watching you play. So, that kind of gets ripped from them (with) something like a trade or demanding a trade or wanting to leave. But they feel like a piece of them is gone too.

"So, it's an emotional attachment that they have to professional sports, and you could say that's a gift and a curse of having a team in your city where you grew up, but that shows that people care and people have emotions and people really respect and admire who we are as individuals. Sometimes it gets a little dark and deep, but that's just how the human brain works.

"We understand all that, and the fans understand where we come from too because we have our own platforms and speak on stuff like this. It’s healthy once everyone understands both sides."

Celtics fans might balk at associating any feelings of "love" with Irving, and Irving's period of success with Boston was much more brief than Durant's in Oklahoma City. But Durant's larger point is that fans are very passionate about their teams, and ardent support can turn to animosity very quickly when a player of Kyrie's caliber signs elsewhere.

That's certainly the case with Boston and Irving. So, while Kyrie tried to tell Celtics fans to let bygones be bygones, he's probably better off just embracing the villain role for the rest of this series.

Note: Games 2-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

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