Klay Thompson 'excited to go to Boston'. And Celtics fans can't wait for him to get there| Opinion

Richard Morin

BOSTON – Whether directing explicit chants at opposing players or trolling on social media, one thing Boston sports fans do consistently is get under your skin.

The antics of Boston Celtics fans have been a talking point throughout the 2022 NBA Finals, especially during the lead-up to Game 6 Thursday at TD Garden in Boston. Warriors guard Klay Thompson sarcastically labeled them "real classy" for directing an explicit chant at teammate Draymond Green, who himself called Celtics fans "very loud" and "a little obnoxious" during his podcast this week.

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Thompson appeared to take another jab — albeit more subtly — at Celtics fans after the Warriors won Game 5 104-94 Monday to take a 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals, telling reporters he’s "never been so excited to go to Boston."

How do Celtics fans feel about the Warriors?

Game 4: Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) handles the ball on the perimeter against Celtics defender Marcus Smart (36) during the first half.

Celtics fans surveyed by USA TODAY Sports+ don’t appear to be lowering their intensity anytime soon.

"I don’t think people in Boston really think about Klay Thompson that much," Sammy Hurwitz, a 27-year-old lifelong Celtics fan from Boston, said Tuesday. "He kind of brought this on himself with his comments. What was it, he was upset there was swearing at The Garden? Listen, man, you’re at The Garden for the NBA Finals. 

"If you want a safe space from swearing, that ain’t it."

Warren Brumant, 28, who calls himself a massive Celtics fan, said Thompson "should really be careful" with his comments ahead of a pivotal Game 6 Thursday.

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"It’s all about the crowd, the fans and the chants," Brumant said. "Everyone’s always doing memes and jokes about the other team.

"Boston fans do not like Kyrie Irving and I think that goes for Draymond Green as well."

Will Hessein, a 29-year-old Florida native, has lived in Boston for eight years and said he takes Thompson’s comments as a compliment.

"Boston is a (expletive) great sports city," Hessein said as he held his four-month-old Cavapoo puppy named Tatum, who was appropriately dressed in a Celtics jersey. "We’re as excited as can be." 

What separates Boston sports fans from others?

Boston Celtics fans pose for photographers before a playoff game in 2012.

Boston fans are outspoken and unapologetic about their allegiances. They are even more so about their grudges. As a result, their behavior seems to creep into the public eye far more frequently than other fanbases.

Why is that?

Many fans mentioned the age of Boston sports teams compared to their counterparts as a reason for the passionate fandom. The Celtics were founded in 1946. The Patriots began play in 1960.

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The Bruins and Red Sox are even older, starting their franchises in 1924 and 1901, respectively. The Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox all won multiple championships in their heyday and raised generations of title-hungry fans.

However, not everyone is smelling the roses of championships past.

Jack Blackwood, a 70-year-old came to Boston from Jamaica 60 years ago, said Boston sports fans are out of their minds when it comes to passion, but it doesn’t always lead to winning. He referenced periods in Boston sports history when titles were few and far between.

But just how much does the energy of Celtics fans impact their team's play?

"Apparently not that much," Blackwood said, referencing the Celtics' Game 4 loss at TD Garden.

Younger fans have been treated to 12 combined championships. Since 2001, Boston’s four major sports teams have more titles than any other city. And they’re quick to let people know about it.

Katelynn Zollarcoffer, a 28-year-old Bostonian who attended college in Los Angeles, said the DNA marker of a Boston sports fan runs deeper. 

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"It’s just the culture of the city," Zollarcoffer said. "We’re all just sports fanatics here. I played sports when I was in school and being a team is always emphasized in order to be successful. I think that goes for all the teams in Boston. It’s a sports city. Everyone loves sports in Boston.

"They like sports over there (in Los Angeles), but it’s just not as much as over here. It’s just not. It doesn’t compare."

Hurwitz said he spent part of his childhood in the Bay Area and called the Celtics-Warriors matchup a "fan-base mismatch" of huge proportions.

"Golden State’s fans are fine, but Boston fans are on a whole different level," Hurwitz said. "I think Klay Thompson’s seen that. I don’t think we do anything wrong. We’re definitely the loudest, maybe Philly and New York make up the big three there.

"I think we’re the best of the best in terms of fanbases and I don’t think that’s up for debate."