WATCH: Kyrie gets deafening boos in return to TD Garden for Finals

WATCH: Kyrie gets deafening boos in return to TD Garden for Finals originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving is public enemy No. 1 at TD Garden for the 2024 NBA Finals.

The former Celtic, now taking on his ex-teammates with the Dallas Mavericks, received thunderous boos upon taking the parquet for Game 1 on Thursday night.

Irving played a tumultuous two seasons with Boston from 2017-19. The star point guard fell out of favor with C’s fans after pledging to re-sign with the team when his contract expired, only to leave for the Brooklyn Nets in the summer.

Since then, Irving has been greeted with loud boos and expletive-laden chants each time he has returned to TD Garden. Irving has responded by stomping on the C’s logo at midcourt during the 2021 playoffs and flashing the middle finger to Boston fans (twice) in the 2022 Celtics-Nets postseason series.

Ahead of Game 1, Irving downplayed the hostility that comes with playing at TD Garden.

“You’ve just got to breathe through it. To all my youngins out there that are dealing with some of the crowd reactions and what they’re saying to you, you have to breathe and realize that this is not as hostile as you think it is. Don’t overthink it,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“I’ve been able to work through that and understand that some of that is anxiety, some of that is nervousness and it can all be turned into a strength.”

Irving is making his fourth NBA Finals appearance. His previous three came alongside LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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