BOSTON (WHDH) - Former Celtic and current Dallas Maverick Kyrie Irving this week said he knows the environment he will be stepping into on Thursday when the NBA Finals come to Boston. 

As he prepares for the series, though, Irving has reflected on his relationship with his former team and recently said his bad blood with Boston fans is a thing of the past. 

“I’ll take the brunt of it, of all the yells and stuff like that and all the remarks,” Irving said of his expectations for the upcoming series. “…This basketball stuff is going to be competitive. No matter what, we’re going to go at each other.” 

Irving came to the Celtics in 2017 after six seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He then left for the Brooklyn Nets after two seasons and soon sparred with Celtics fans over a series of incidents. 

In one incident in 2022, he raised his middle fingers toward the crowd during a playoff series between the Nets and Celtics. 

“That wasn’t a good reflection of who I am and how I like to compete,” Irving said. 

“It’s good to hear the TD Garden silent when you’re playing well,” he continued. “They still respect great basketball.” 

While he said he is ready to make his return, Irving did not mince words when it came to explaining his frustration with the Celtics. 

“It’s just, a little bit more grace could have been extended my way especially with what I was dealing with during that time as a human being,” he said. “I know sometimes in sports it’s literally about the end goal and the result and what you accomplish and that’s one thing, but we’re still human at the end of the day.”

As competitive as the finals series is expected to be, Irving said he has nothing but respect for the Celtics. 

“They’ve improved tremendously,” he said. “…So, I’m nothing short of proud of the guys for what they’ve been able to do.” 

Game 1 between the Celtics and Mavericks is set for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Boston. 

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