Former NBA great Charles Barkley went off on another former player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins over the latter’s injecting racism into the league’s MVP voting.
Perkins, appearing on ESPN’s “First Take” earlier this week, noted to other panelists that the majority of MVP voters are White. He then implied, not for the first time, that their race affects their ballots in choosing award winners.
The first blowback came from fellow analyst JJ Redick. Also a former player, the mouthpiece asserted that “what we’ve just witnessed is the problem with the show.”
He went on to criticize the creation of “narratives that do not exist in reality.”
Barkley, the MVP winner in 1993, went on Denver’s 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio and ripped Perkins for comments he described as “silly” and “stupid.” He told the hosts to “pick one of the words, whichever one you want.”
Charles Barkley blasts Kendrick Perkins and says he “crossed the line”
“I can promise you this, I’ve never said anything on television just to get clicks…We can talk about race as much as you want to as long as you’re going to be fair and honest. But to slander this man… https://t.co/YzndhR9irt pic.twitter.com/BeLpIioric
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 7, 2023
Barkley, known in his playing days as the Round Mound of Rebound, attributed Perkins’ statements to “ESPN disease.” This, he said, is the tendency of many analysts on the network to make far-fetched claims to appear “provocative.”
He also complimented Redick for pushing back at Perkins’ claims of racism.
Barkley, as a former MVP, shed some light on the selection process. Voters are to choose the player with the best regular season, not who they consider the best overall player in the NBA.
The former great said that every year there is a “silly debate” over the award, and inevitably someone comes on and argues about who is the best player instead of who had the best regular season.
Serbian superstar Nikola Jokic currently averages a triple-double and is widely expected to take home his third straight trophy. His team, the Denver Nuggets, are having another phenomenal year. As Barkley said, “to slander this man in this situation is (a joke).”
Apparently, the situation at the ESPN desk has calmed dramatically. The heated confrontation between Perkins and Redick immediately went viral, and host Stephen A. Smith had to admonish the two to talk just “one at a time.”
But in recent days Perkins said he “appreciated” Redick for his “real talk” and said that they are “good.” Another guest jokingly suggested that the four should meet for a group hug.