BOSTON (CBS) – Nets guard Kyrie Irving will be playing in front of Celtics fans for the first time this weekend since leaving Boston to play for Brooklyn. And he is asking the crowd to stick to basketball, not what he describes as “subtle racism.”

Brooklyn comes to Boston Friday with a 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series. On Sunday, Game 4 will feature a near-capacity TD Garden crowd as Massachusetts lifts all COVID restrictions Saturday.

Irving was asked about his return following Tuesday’s game. He has drawn the ire of Boston fans since he left, but hasn’t been on the floor in front of them since departing.

“Hopefully we can just keep it strictly basketball, you know there’s no belligerence or any racism going on, subtle racism, and people yelling s–t from the crowd. But even if it is, it’s part of the nature of the game and I’m just going to focus on what we can control,” Irving told reporters.

Irving was then asked if he had previously experienced racism in Boston before.

“I’m not the only one that could attest to this. But it’s just… you know… it is what it is. The whole world knows it,” he added.

CBSBoston.com Staff