Things got heated between JJ Redick and Kendrick Perkins during ESPN’s “First Take” on Tuesday.
The ESPN NBA analysts had a contentious back and forth after Redick called out Perkins for implying on the show that there is racial bias in the NBA MVP voting.
Last week, Perkins appeared on “First Take” and took issue with Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, who is making a case for a third-straight MVP award, and accused the Serbian center of “stat-padding” in order to average a triple-double on the season.
At the time, Perkins asked why Redick didn’t mention that only three players have ever been crowned the NBA’s MVP without finishing in the top 10 in scoring, noting they’re all white: former Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki, former Suns guard Steve Nash, and Jokic.
Redick and Perkins had been chirping back and forth about the matter all last week, and they finally came face-to-face on Tuesday’s installment of “First Take.”
Redick said Perkins’ stat-padding accusation was untrue and dismissed the idea that white NBA writers favor white players in MVP voting.
“Stephen A [Smith], I mean no offense to you and I mean no offense to ‘First Take,’” Redick said. “Because I think this show is extremely valuable, it is an honor to be on this desk every day, it really is.
“But what we 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, that they favor white people, you just said that.”
Perkins then denied that he implied white voters that vote on the NBA 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.”
That’s when Perkins got animated.
“I did not, I stated the facts!” Perkins fired back. “And you’re not about to sit up there and act like it’s something more than that. It’s the facts!”
Redick and Perkins were later able to exchanged pleasantries and share mutual respect for each other.
Perkins said he appreciate that Redick challenged him on-air and stressed the importance of having uncomfortable conversations, while Redick said the two “are always good.”
The former NBA players-turned-analysts appeared on “First Take” virtually, along with Stephen A. Smith, while Molly Qerim hosted the show from its New York City studio.
Redick joined ESPN as an NBA analyst in Oct. 2021.
In May 2021, Perkins signed a multi-year extension to remain with ESPN as an NBA analyst across the network’s multiple platforms including “Get Up” and “SportsCenter.”