JJ Redick And Kendrick Perkins Yell In Bonkers Fight Over Race On ESPN

The former NBA players are the latest to pump up the volume of on-air arguments.
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Former NBA players JJ Redick and Kendrick Perkins got in a loud argument on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday over whether racism affects MVP voting, prompting host Stephen A. Smith to intervene. (Watch the video below.)

“What we’ve just witnessed is the problem with this show,” said Redick, who is white. “Where we create narratives that do not exist in reality. What you are implying [is] that the white voters that vote on NBA are racist, that they favor white people. You just said that.”

“I did not,” Perkins, who is Black, shot back.

Redick kept asserting the opposite and Perkins continued to deny and then repeated, “It’s the facts! It’s the facts! It’s the facts!”

Redick took umbrage with Perkins’ suggestion that past white winners of the MVP, such as Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, benefited from bias because they weren’t among the very top scorers. (Perkins had also made the claim previously.) Redick shot back that Magic Johnson won his three MVPs while finishing 10th, 15th and 18th in points per game.

The conversation got heated amid the prospect of Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who is white, winning a third straight MVP. Jokic is currently 20th in the league in scoring with 24.4 points per game. The previous white winner was Nowitzki in 2007, who was 11th in scoring.

Perkins noted that most of the media voting body is white.

Perkins began to tout the accomplishments of some current Black stars in the league, and Redick let loose.

His criticism spiked the emotional temperature ― which has happened a lot lately on sports talk programs. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe have gone viral for multiple yelling matches on “Undisputed”; Smith himself and Jay Williams got visibly angry at each other recently on “First Take”; and ESPN New York radio host Michael Kay threatened to get a producer fired on the air for poking fun at his ratings.

But, in this case, TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley kept the argument going by saying that Perkins’ claim of racism was “asinine” and that he is afflicted with “ESPN disease” ― the need to spout hot takes for clicks.

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