Since the start of the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics fan base has come under scrutiny, particularly in terms of how they treat opposing teams.
While the TD Garden is often referred to as a fortress due to the incredible noise and atmosphere, it seems that not every fan is behaving appropriately and players are starting to talk about it.
During a July 18 episode of ESPN’S First Take, Kendrick Perkins shared his thoughts on the current controversy surrounding his former team’s fanbase, noting how the disrespect towards players is starting to spiral out of control.
Boston fans push the envelope and hit below the belt when it comes to being disrespectful. I can say throwing stuff at players like LeBron and talking about the beer that’s being thrown at him… You start to get out of bounds when you start talking about people and loved ones… The fans are closed damn disrespectful when it comes to opposing teams coming to Boston,” Perkins said when asked about LeBron James’ recent comments on Celtics fans and his experience in Boston.
Perkins spent seven and a half seasons with the Celtics, from the 2003-04 season through the 2010-11 season. During that time, Perkins averaged 6.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, he was also part of the team that won the 2008 championship.
Perkins’ comments on the Celtics fan base did not come out of the blue, in fact the entire discussion arose out of a recent viral video with LeBron Jameswhere Los Angeles Lakers star claims Celtics fans are “racist as ****”.
“Because they’re bloody racist, that’s why. They’ll say anything… I don’t mind if I hear someone close behind me, I’ll check and move on to the game. They’ll say whatever they want to say, they might throw something at you, I mean I got thrown over me with a beer leaving a game… There was a ‘F*** LBJ’ shirt like that and I think they probably sold that in the team shop, I think the Celtics had something to do with it. LeBron said while speaking about the Boston fan base during a recent appearance on The Recount.
LeBron has appeared in 56 regular-season games against the Celtics over the course of his career, averaging 28.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and seven assists per game while shooting 50.5% from the field and 31.7% from deep lap.
While it’s unclear which segment of the fanbase is crossing the line, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Boston is viewed negatively by players across the league – largely due to the way they’re treated when playing for the visiting team.
However, Celtics star Jaylen Brown has previously raised the matter with the media, while a Press conference on May 29, 2021.
“I think that not every Celtics fan – I know every Celtics fan in our arena is not a racist. We have people of all walks of life, races and colors who are die-hard Celtics fans. So I think it would be unfair to portray every Celtics fan as a racist.” said Brown during a long and well articulated statement. Brown also spoke about the far-reaching effects of racism in Boston, America and around the world, and you can hear his full interview in the video above.
Hopefully the Celtics organization and the NBA as a whole will take steps to ensure that fans across the league are bound by a strict code of conduct going forward so that both players and spectators can enjoy the event safely.