A Boston Celtics fan who was accused of throwing a water bottle at the head of Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving was arrested Sunday.
The incident occurred as the NBA star was exiting the court after helping the Nets to a 141-126 victory against the Celtics at TD Garden in Boston, said Sgt. Detective John Boyle of the Boston Police Department. Irving was nearly hit by the Dasani water bottle, which grazed his head, Boyle said.
Cole Buckley, 21, of Braintree, Massachusetts, was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, authorities said. Information about a lawyer representing him was not immediately available.
After the game, Irving told reporters that it was “unfortunate” how frequent similar incidents have become since the NBA playoffs started this month.
“It’s been that way in history in terms of entertainment, performers and sports for a long period of time, just underlying racism and just treating people like they’re in a human zoo — throwing stuff at people and saying things,” he said. “We’re not at the theater, we’re not throwing tomatoes and other random stuff at the people performing.”
A TD Garden spokesperson said in a statement: “We have zero tolerance for violations of our guest code of conduct, and the guest is subject to a lifetime ban from TD Garden.”
On Thursday, the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers each banned a fan for actions directed at players on the opposing team, NBC New York reported. A Knicks fan was banned from Madison Square Garden after allegedly spitting on Atlanta guard Trae Young, and a 76ers fan was banned from the stadium after being accused of throwing popcorn at Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook.
“Hopefully people learn their lessons from being banned for how many years, from being arrested,” Irving said.