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 Irving was leaving the court after having helped the Nets to a 141-126 victory over the Celtics at TD Garden in Boston, police Sgt. Detective John Boyle said. Irving was nearly hit by the Dasani water bottle, which grazed his head, Boyle said.
The fan, 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 the Philadelphia 76ers each banned a fan for actions directed at players on opposing teams, NBC New York reported. A Knicks fan who was accused of spitting on Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young was banned from Madison Square Garden, and a 76ers fan was banned from the arena 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.