WATCH: ESPN’s Redick, Perkins Have Fiery Exchange Over Claim Racism Rules NBA’s MVP Vote

NBA analyst J.J. Redick got into a fiery exchange with ESPN colleague Kendrick Perkins Tuesday after Perkins implied that white players are favored over black players in the league’s MVP voting.

Perkins had initially accused leading MVP candidate Nikola Jokić, an eight-year veteran who has already won the award twice, of “stat-padding,” then noted that since 1990, only Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Jokić — all of whom are white — had won the MVP without finishing in the top 10 in scoring.

“What do those guys have in common?” Perkins asked. “I’ll let it sit there and marinate. You think about it. 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?”

As Redick appeared on screen with “First Take” host Steven A. Smith and Perkins, he started by calmly praising Smith and calling it “an honor” to appear regularly on the show. Then he let loose.

“But what we’ve just witnessed is the problem with this show, where we create narratives that do not exist in reality,” said Redick, who is white and played in the NBA for 15 years. “The implication, what you are implying, that the white voters that vote on NBA are racist, that they favor white people.”

As Perkins, who is black and retired in 2018 after a 14-year career, appeared to protest, Redick cut him off.

“You just said that,” he shot back. “Yes, you did. Yes, you did. That is exactly what you implied, Kendrick Perkins. That is exactly what you implied. Secondly —”

“I cited the facts,” Perkins yelled. “I stated the facts and you —”


“We all know what you implied the other day,” Redick charged. “We all know what you implied just now.”

“I stated it,” Perkins continued yelling. “It’s the facts. It’s the facts. It’s the facts.”

JJ Redick condemns First Take and pushes back on Kendrick Perkins alleging NBA MVP voters have a racial bias against Black players:

— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 7, 2023

The two appeared to cool down later in the show.

“I appreciate you for challenging me on this whole conversation because, guess what, it’s an uncomfortable conversation, but it was something that needed to be had,” Perkins said. “The simple fact is this, this is how a lot of former African American players have been feeling for decades now.”

Redick seemed to appreciate Perkins’ gesture.

“I respect your experience. I respect every former player’s experience. I can’t speak on that. I understand what you’re saying,” Redick replied.

Here’s the resolution

— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 7, 2023

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who won the league MVP award in the 1992-93 season, later took Perkins to task for claiming MVP voters were racist.

“That’s asinine and silly,” Barkley told Altitude Sports Radio. “Asinine, silly, and stupid. Pick one of the words, whatever one you want.”

The voluble former basketball great said many personalities get what he called “ESPN disease” when they go on air and try to say something provocative. Barkley said the claim was especially unfair to Jokić, the Serbian-born center for the Denver Nuggets who is averaging 24.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 10 assists per game.

“And this is what bothers me also, man, race is such a touchy subject because very few people have a pure heart,” Barkley said. “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 [Jokić] in this situation is just total BS.”

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