The Celtics are playing their first preseason game at UNC. Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum arrived in Duke blue.

"No disrespect to UNC, but I can’t wait to get back to North Carolina and go eight miles down the road."

Boston, MA - 9/25/2018 - Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) at Boston Celtics training camp.  -  (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section:  Sports, Reporter:  Adam Himmelsbach, Topic:  26Celtics practice, LOID:  8.4.3277929148.
Kyrie Irving at Celtics training camp earlier this week in Boston. –Barry Chin / The Boston Globe

Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum may have only played a combined total of 40 games for Duke University. However, they made sure to rep their alma mater ahead of the Celtics’ first preseason game Friday against the Charlotte Hornets, which is being played at the Chapel Hill home of the Blue Devils’ loathed ACC rivals, the University of North Carolina.

As The Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn reported Friday morning, Irving and Tatum arrived to the Dean E. Smith Center in Duke gear.

The statement received a nod of approval from the Twitter account of the Duke men’s basketball team.


Though their seasons at Duke were separated by six years, Irving and Tatum have reportedly bonded in part over their shared experience in Durham. The pair also attended a Duke-UNC ACC Tournament game at Cameron Indoor Stadium together in March.

Asked about returning to Chapel Hill earlier this week, Irving said he was more excited to “go eight miles down the road.”

And on Thursday, both he and Tatum did.