On Wednesday, Nets point guard and former Celtic Kyrie Irving was booed throughout the game, despite not even being in attendance as he recovers from a shoulder injury.
After the game, Irving spoke out on his Instagram story, calling the criticism from Boston fans "ignorant and obtrusive." Even Celtics guard Jaylen Brown -- a teammate of Irving's in Boston -- said there was no need for Celtics fans to boo Irving.
The Nets and Celtics played each other again on Friday, as Irving was in attendance at the Barclays Center, but did not play. Some of his former Celtics teammates, including guard Marcus Smart and center Robert Williams, shared hugs with Irving and spoke about their relationship with him after the game.
"I mean, there is no hard feelings," Smart said. "I didn't hug Kyrie to get on TV. That's two guys that are trying to make a living for their families being professional athletes. That's my brother, regardless of what he did. He works hard."
Smart has been with the Celtics since they drafted him with the No. 6 pick in the 2014 NBA draft. The team had high expectations after acquiring Irving from the Cavaliers right before the start of the 2017-18 season. However, the Celtics lost in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 and then were bounced in the semifinals in 2019.
Williams, who was a rookie last season with Boston, experienced a season full of ups-and-downs. Though, after Friday's matchup between the two teams, he mentioned how Irving is like a big brother to him.
"I look at him as like one of my old heads, like a big brother to me," Williams said. "He just asked about my daughter. Asked how she's been. I appreciate that about Ky, just staying in touch. I always things about basketball, and things about life, so I appreciate that all the time."
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, and played his first two seasons in the league alongside Irving. He spoke briefly about their relationship, and even gave Irving a big hug after Friday's game.
"We ain't got no hard feelings towards him," Tatum said. "It's still all love. But I don't know. We're gonna see when they come back to Boston."
Respect in Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/P4AtxDSvqW- NBA (@NBA) November 29, 2019