Charles Barkley believes Kendrick Perkins suffers from “ESPN disease” after the former NBA center recently accused MVP voters of holding a racial bias against Black players.
During this past Friday’s edition of “First Take,” Perkins discussed the possibility of Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic potentially winning his third straight MVP award. Perkins implied that Jokic’s skin color was helping his cause.
“When it comes down to guys winning MVPs since 1990, it’s only three guys that won the MVP that wasn’t top-10 in scoring,” Perkins said. “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.”
Barkley, the “Inside the NBA” analyst, called Perkins’ take “asinine and silly.”
“That’s asinine and silly,” Barkley said on 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio in Denver, via Awful Announcing. “Asinine, silly and stupid. Pick one of the words, whatever one you want. One of the things that’s silly about ESPN at times, they do this silly debate every year about the MVP, going back to even when I played. They did it a lot with LeBron, which makes me laugh, too. Derrick Rose won it. He deserved it. Kevin Durant won it. He deserved it.
“It’s a regular season award. It ain’t who the best player is. It’s who had the best regular season, but every year ESPN gets these fools on radio and TV to talk about who’s the best player… They have these silly things every year and it’s really just, that’s the silliness of these morning talk shows.”
Charles Barkley Rips Apart Kendrick Perkins’ Argument
Barkley added that Perkins’ argument makes “zero sense” and praised former NBA guard JJ Redick for pushing back on his claim.
“I always talk about ESPN disease,” Barkley said. “A lot of these guys, when they get on TV and stuff, they’re like, ‘well I’m on ESPN, I got to say something provocative.’ And you know the thing about it, you’re always gonna get some fools out there. You guys probably get some fools calling in agreeing with him! I can promise you this, I’ve never said anything on television just to get clicks. That don’t mean I’ve been right or wrong, whatever.
“But I’ve never said something like, ‘well I know people are going to react and go crazy, let me say this.’ And this is what bothers me also, man race is such a touchy subject because very few people have a pure heart. 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 [Jokic] in this situation is just total BS.”