Former NBA player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins found himself in hot water this week after suggesting there is racial bias in the NBA MVP voting process when Talking about Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets.
On Thursday, NBA Hall of Famer and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley amused himself with the controversy on «Inside the NBA.»
When they discussed their picks to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, fellow analyst Shaquille O’Neal picked the Milwaukee Bucks and said Giannis Antetokounmpo was his MVP pick, and that’s when Barkley intervened.
ESPN ISSUED A PUBLIC APOLOGY AFTER KENDRICK PERKINS CLAIMED THAT VOTERS FOR THE NBA MVP WERE PREDOMINANTLY WHITE
“You’re only voting for him because he’s black,” Barkley said, as the other panel members roared with laughter.
Last week, Perkins singled out three players since 1990 who have won MVP despite being outside the top 10 in points per game: Jokic (in his first MVP campaign in 2020-21), Dirk Nowitzki (2006-07) and Steve Nash (2004-05, 2005-06). All three are white.
«What do those guys have in common? I’m going to let it sit there and marinate. Think about it,» Perkins told «First Take» co-host Stephen A. Smith last week.
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That comment sparked a discussion between «First Take» co-host J.J. Redick and Perkins, with Redick saying that Perkins was implying that white NBA voters are racist.
Perkins also said that 80% of NBA MVP voters are white, to which ESPN had to correct the next day.
«I want to correct something from yesterday’s show,» said ESPN host Molly Qerim. «When Kendrick Perkins said that 80% of NBA voters for the MVP award are white, the NBA publicly announces the voters each year, and upon review, it’s clear that the panel is much more diverse than we realized. represented Kendrick Perkins, and we wanted to make sure we corrected that today.»
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it’s not the first time Barkley has intervened on the subject, he joined Denver’s Altitude Sports Radio earlier in the week and called Perkins’ version «one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.»
«I’m pretty sure he doesn’t give a damn about those idiots talking about him on TV either,» Barkley said. «If I know the Joker [Jokic], probably just got out of bed. She probably slept well. The Nuggets won a tough game last night. [Denver head coach] mike malone I probably should have given them the day off and let them sleep in the day after that game. I’m pretty sure he’s not into all this nonsense.»
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«You can’t tell me, because the numbers don’t make sense,» Barkley continued. «Does he know how many voters are actually white, or did he get ‘80%’ out of his ass? My point is that if only five white men have won MVP in the last 30 years, that doesn’t make any sense: his argument. Zero point. Because if that were the case, we’d have a lot more white MVPs…Wouldn’t the numbers be much, much worse?»
Jokic is currently averaging a triple-double and is the favorite to win his third straight MVP award.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and Scott Thompson contributed to this report.