Kyrie Irving knows what it’s like to be showered with affection by the hordes of die-hards which traditionally inhabit TD Garden.
Having swapped places with Isaiah Thomas, he now has a greater understanding of what it means to be the main man in city as sports mad as Boston.
But with Thomas a possibility to return against the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday night, Irving believes Thomas will experience the same adulation he received before the team traded him away in cold-blooded fashion.
“That guy put on some performances, epic performances,” Irving told reporters at the weekend. “And, for the city of Boston, what he gave on a consistent basis, you were just wondering how that tough-nosed m—–f—– was just getting it done every single night and demanding from his teammates and playing with an edge that really cemented himself as a premier player in this league. And you’re just nothing short of happy for a guy like that. And whether or not he plays, it’s going to be nothing but love for him from Boston.”
While Irving’s arrival and resulting 30-10 Eastern Conference-topping start has helped Celtics fans move on from Thomas with relative ease, IT’s heroics will be forever etched into Celtics folklore.
Thomas averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists during his absolute assault on the 2016-17 season which culminated with the Celtics making it as far as the Eastern Conference Finals, the little magician producing a series of timeless memories along the way.
And he pulled of his late season heroics while playing through extreme physical and emotional pain.
There was a reason TD Garden was filled with Thomas jerseys every night, and it’s looking like that love and admiration will resurface on Wednesday night.