Things got hot between JJ Redick and Kendrick Perkins during ESPNs First take on Tuesday.
ESPN NBA analysts had a contentious back-and-forth after Redick Perkins called for implying on the show that there is racial bias in the NBA MVP vote.
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Last week Perkins appeared on First take and feuded with Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, who is campaigning for a third straight MVP award and accused the Serbia center of “stat padding” to average a triple-double in the season.
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At the time, Perkins questioned why Redick hadn’t mentioned that since 1990, only three players have been crowned NBA MVPs without finishing in the top 10, noting that they are all white: former Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki, the former Sun guard Steve Nash and Jokic.
However, Lakers legend Magic Johnson won MVP in 1987, 1989 and 1990 when he failed to make the top 10.
Redick and Perkins had been twittering back and forth about the matter for the past week and finally came face to face on Tuesday First take.
Redick said Perkins’ accusation of padding stats was wrong and dismissed the idea that white NBA writers favor white players in MVP voting.
“Stephen A. (Smith), I don’t mean to offend you, and I don’t mean to offend ‘First Take,'” Redick said. “Because I think this show is extremely valuable, it’s an honor to stand on this podium every day, it really is.
“But what we’ve just seen is the problem with this show, where we’re creating narratives that don’t exist in reality. The implication of what you’re implying that the white voters who vote on the NBA are racist, that they prefer white people, that’s what you just said.
Perkins then denied that he had implied that white voters voting on the NBA were racist.
“Yes, you did,” Redick said. “That’s exactly what you were hinting at to Kendrick Perkins… We all know what you were hinting at the other day. We all know what you just implied.”
Since Perkins was animated.
“I didn’t, I stated the facts!” Perkins fired back. “And you’re not going to sit up there and pretend it’s more than that. It’s the facts!”
Redick and Perkins were later able to exchange pleasantries and respect each other.
Perkins said he appreciated Redick challenging him on air and stressed the importance of having uncomfortable conversations, while Redick said the two were “always good.”
The ex-NBA players-turned-analysts made an appearance First take virtually, alongside Stephen A. Smith, while Molly Qerim hosted the show from her New York studio.
Redick joined ESPN in October 2021 as an NBA analyst.
In May 2021, Perkins signed a multi-year extension to remain with ESPN as an NBA analyst for the network’s various platforms, including Stand up And sport Center.
This story first appeared in The New York Post and was republished with permission.