ESPN analyst J.J. Redick criticized his colleague, Kendrick Perkins, for allegedly suggesting that NBA voters are racist in favor of White players when they vote for the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
On ESPN’s “First Take,” Perkins took issue with Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, saying he doesn’t deserve to win two MVP awards, and accused him of “stat-padding.”
Perkins noted that only three players received the award without finishing in the NBA’s top 10 scoring list: former Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash, former Dallas Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki, and Jokic. All three players are White.
“What do those guys have in common? I’ll let it sit there and marinate. You think about it,” Perkins said. “When it comes down to moving the goalposts for certain individuals to win it, again, is it Oochie Wally? Or is it One Mic? What song are we actually dancing to right now? Why is this subject not brought up?”
“When it comes to MVP voting, 80% of the voters are white Americans,” he added.
In response, Redick said Perkins’ stat-padding accusation was “ludicrous,” and denounced the idea that White NBA voters favor White players in MVP voting.
“What we just witnessed is the problem with this show,” Redick said. “Where we create narratives that do not exist in reality. The implication what you are implying that the White voters that vote on NBA are racist. They favor White people.”
“What we just witnessed is the problem with this show. Where we create narratives that do not exist in reality.”
JJ Redick went in on Kendrick Perkins and First Take for insinuating NBA MVP voters have racial bias against black players 😳pic.twitter.com/Zvu6e6l2fA
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) March 7, 2023
Perkins denied his implication that NBA White Voters are racist.
“Yes you did,” Redick said. “That is exactly what you implied Kendrick Perkins… We all know what you implied the other day. We all know what you implied just now.”
Perkins said all he did was “state the facts.”
“I did not, I stated the facts!” Perkins exclaimed. “And you’re not about to sit up there and act like it’s something more than that. It’s the facts!”
The analysts later shared mutual respect. Perkins said he appreciated the conversation, claiming his opinion was how “a lot of former African American players have been feeling for decades,” while Redick said the two “are always good.”
According to Sports Illustrated, Jokic averages 24.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 10.0 assists a game.