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Kyrie Irving’s gesture was ‘classless,’ says Cedric Maxwell, but fans were out of line, too

Kyrie Irving made it a point to step on the Celtics logo after the game.Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Celtics radio commentator Cedric Maxwell had just called the final seconds of Boston’s 141-126 Game 4 loss to the Nets Sunday night when he looked down on the floor and could not believe his eyes. He turned to play-by-play partner Sean Grande.

“I said, ‘Oh no, he didn’t,’ ” Maxwell said Monday. “Kyrie [Irving] just went to the logo and wiped his foot like he was wiping off some poop.”

Irving had just scored 39 points to lead his team to the win and a commanding 3-1 series edge. As he walked toward midcourt to greet some teammates, he used his left foot to stomp on the face of the leprechaun on the Celtics logo. Maxwell was stunned.


“It had nothing to do with the competition, not for you to go wipe your feet on the logo,” he said. “It didn’t matter if it was a white man, if it was a zebra, if it was a squirrel. I didn’t care what it was. It was just the fact that you didn’t need to do that, and you’re bringing attention to yourself.

“You played a great game, you won, what is the point? What really is the point? Like I said, Kyrie is a great player. Why the classless act?”

Cole Buckley of Braintree is approached by security following the incident.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

About a minute later, Cole Buckley, a 21-year-old Celtics fan from Braintree, threw a water bottle at Irving and nearly hit him in the head. Buckley was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. That incident became the night’s primary story line, and any comparison to stepping on a painted logo seemed unfair.

Maxwell, the MVP of the 1981 NBA Finals with the Celtics, said there was no reason to put the moments side by side. He believes Buckley was wrong and should be punished, and he also believes that Irving went too far, even if he had spent most of these two games in Boston being booed and heckled and showered with derisive chants.


“The people were wrong about some of the things they said to him, too,” Maxwell said. “When they said, ‘Kyrie sucks,’ that bothered me. When they said ‘[expletive] Kyrie,’ that really bothered me, because we had fans there who were younger kids. So I didn’t appreciate that at all. That crossed the line too with me.

“But there was still no reason at all for Kyrie to go out to the logo of the Celtics and essentially wipe his foot like he has just stepped in some dog crap. That, to me, was classless from a great player. There’s no place for it in the game.”

Celtics Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett also was irritated by Irving’s act and posted about it on Instagram Monday afternoon.

“So nobody gonna say anything about kyrie stomping Lucky?” he said. “We just gonna act like we didn’t see that. [What’s] going on … You can’t do that. That’s not [cool] on no level. All of us need to be better.”

Two are doubtful

Kemba Walker and Robert Williams are both listed as doubtful for Game 5 Tuesday.

Walker is dealing with a bone bruise on his left knee and Williams has been slowed by a sprained ankle and a lingering turf toe injury. Both players sat out the Celtics’ 141-126 Game 4 loss Sunday night.


Kemba Walker, seen here congratulating Jayson Tatum during Game 3, remains doubtful for Game 5.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Walker’s injury occurred during the Game 2 loss last Tuesday. He played in Game 3 Friday but began to experience significant soreness Saturday. Williams sat out five of the final six regular-season games because of the turf toe. He was slowed by the injury in the playoffs before being sidelined by a sprained ankle in the opening minutes of Game 3.

Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.