The “First Take” crew on ESPN s one big happy family again after a heated debate over whether NBA MVP voters are racially biased on Tuesday.
Former NBA players and now ESPN analysts Kendrick Perkins and JJ Redick had gone back and forth earlier on the show, with Stephen A. Smith moderating, where the former NBA star suggested that the voters have inconsistent criteria for the award, which he says favors white players. Redick responded by saying a flaw of “First Take” is that hot takes like Perkins’ are encouraged without evidence.
But the two resolved the conflict with respect for each other.
“JJ, I appreciate you brother. Real talk, I appreciate you for challenging me on this whole conversation,” Perkins said. “Because guess what? It’s an uncomfortable conversation, but it was something that needed to be had because for the simple fact is, is this: This is how a lot of former African-American players have been feeling for decades now. So yes, it was brought up and yes, we went at it, but it was a conversation that we had. Someone had to address the elephant in the room and that was a conversation that needed to be had. But I appreciate you, brother. I’m good, long as you good.”
“Perk, you know I respect your experience I respect every former player’s experience. I can’t speak on that,” Redick responded. “I understand what you’re saying. We’re always good.”
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What did Kendrick Perkins say about NBA MVP voters favoring white athletes?
Previously, Redick questioned Perkins’ choice for Joel Embiid as this year’s MVP while Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets is the favorite to win his third straight title. Perkins claimed that the voters have inconsistent criteria for the award, which leads to white players winning it. He references Jay Z’s line on “Blueprint 2” that calls out Nas for contradicting himself on the songs “Oochie Wally” and “One Mic,” the former being a light-hearted playful song while the latter is a plea to live life with intention.
“I ask what is the criteria for the MVP and how the goal post is moved? I’m asking these questions for a reason,” Perkins said on Wednesday. “When I look at JJ and I hear him talk because he’s so big in analytics and he’s a historian when it comes down to diving in deep and going back into history and talking about the evolution of the game, why didn’t he never bring up this in particular subject: When it comes down to guys winning MVP since 1990, it’s only three guys that won the MVP that wasn’t Top 10 in scoring.
“Do you know who those three guys were? Steve Nash, Jokic and Dirk Nowitzki. Now, what do those guys have in common? I’ll let it sit there and marinate you think about it.”
He analyzes how Steve Nash won the 2006 MVP when arguably Kobe Bryant, who was averaging 31 points per game, had a better season and was a more “valuable” part of a team that was No. 7 in the Western Conference with less effective players.
“I don’t understand how he did that with that team he had, no disrespect to those players, but it is what it is,” he said. “How was he not winning it, leading the league in scoring that year?”
He then questions why the Nuggets star should be the MVP yet again.
“So don’t come giving me, oh, they’re the No. 1 seed this year in the Western Conference, so he’s averaging a triple double, that’s why he should be the clear-cut favorite,” Perkins said. “They wasn’t the No. 1 seed last year, they were actually the No. 6 seed, one seed from being in the play-in tournament. So that’s my whole thing is why we move the goal post for certain people and then for others, we don’t. When I was trying to make a case two years ago for Chris Paul, when I was saying, ‘Hey, you know what, the Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul, same organization, same position, same results. Why is he not getting the love that Steve Nash was getting when he was in Phoenix as far as the MVP candidate or being the MVP frontrunner?’ I’m just trying to say, Stephen A., am I missing something here?”
What was JJ Redick’s response to Kendrick Perkins saying NBA MVP voters have racial bias?
On Tuesday, Redick blasted Perkins for comments suggesting that MVP voters are racist.
“I mean no offense to you and I mean no offense to ‘First Take’ because I think this show is extremely valuable. It is an honor to be on this desk every day. It really is,” the former NBA journeyman said, starting with a disclaimer. “But what we’ve just witnessed is the problem with this show 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, you just said that.”
The conversation heats up as Perkins chimes in to defend his previous comments, repeating “I did not,” before declaring, “I stated the facts.”
What did Nuggets head coach Michael Malone say about Nikola Jokic winning the NBA MVP?
Currently, Jokic is the frontrunner to win the 2023 NBA MVP award. This would be his third straight crown. The Nuggets are currently at the top of the Western Conference.
Head coach Michael Malone said on Thursday after being asked about Perkins’ comments that there is no question in his mind that his center is worthy of being the MVP again.
“People are going to say what they wanna say. For me, I’ve coached Nikola for eight years. I’ve been in the league a long time,” he said. “… Nikola is a central part of everything we do on the offensive end of the floor. Just because he’s that skilled to be an assist, 10 assists per game center, don’t hold that against him. He’s going to make the right play. And most important thing is this, I do know that we’re 24-0 when he has a triple double, so if people want to construe that as stat padding, well I hope he continues to do it, because when he gets triple doubles, we win. It’s not an empty stat. It’s not like oh, another triple double. It impacts our winning because he’s an MVP player and when he contributes in all those different ways, that allows us to play at a much higher level.”