Over the last few weeks, a racial civil war has broken out among ESPN media personalities over who deserves to be this season’s NBA MVP.
Former NBA Player and ESPN Host Kendrick Perkins started a firestorm a couple of weeks ago when he made the implication that the only reason why NBA star Nikola Jokić could win his third consecutive Most Valuable Player award is because he is white.
Jokić, who is originally from Serbia, has averaged a triple double in the 2022-2023 season for the west leading Denver Nuggets and is one of the front runners to win his third straight MVP, a feat that has only been accomplished in the NBA by Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird.
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This did not sit right with Perkins who accused the NBA MVP voters of racial bias towards Jokić because he is white.
“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.”
Kendrick’s statement led to former NBA player J.J. Redick coming on ESPN’s First Take and publicly calling Kendrick out for his comments.
“What we’ve 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 are racist. That they favor white people.”
Kendrick Perkins vs JJ Reddick – Full Segment regarding Jokic, stat padding, mvp voting. (Warning: video contains heavy traces of nonsense and filibustering) pic.twitter.com/ekbXATT3PY
— n i k o l a e s t h e t i c (@nikolaesthetic) March 7, 2023
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Despite denying the allegations of race baiting, Kendrick stood by his statement. “I stated the facts! I stated the facts, and you not about to sit up here like I’m [inaudible] … It’s the facts!”
Then enters Bomani Jones. Jones, who is no stranger to race baiting, took to his HBO show Game Theory with Bomani Jones to call out Reddick saying that his opposition to Kendrick’s comments puts him on the same side of people he doesn’t want to be on the same side of.
Jones said that because America ‘perfected’ racism, that it is not out of bounds to accuse MVP voters of racism due to a white player winning three straight MVPs.
“If you try to make the argument that something doesn’t involve race, might not be the best look to talk over a Black man on live television, tell him his argument was flat-out wrong and cut him off over and over again,” Jones said according to Fox News.
He added, “Let’s be fair, man. White people aren’t always racially biased. But you can never be 100% sure.”
Jones continued by stating that it is not out of bounds to question the racial motives of white people in terms of race relations.
“You’re acting like Perk’s crazy for bringing it up. That’s what’s crazy. This is America, Jack. And I get that Perk and JJ are just talking about the NBA MVP. But chastising us for saying something might be racist in the land where racism was perfected, that’s how you get pats on the back from folks I know JJ Redick does not want on his side.”
He went on, “And the thing is, you can see where Perk was coming from — even if he got it wrong about three different ways. You can understand why if LeBron James and Michael Jordan never won three MVPs in a row, it looks a little weird when Nikola Jokic, a White man with the physique of a baguette, wins three times in a row. And the last time someone won three times in a row it was a White guy with the physique of a wet Newport (cigarette).”
“I see why somebody might wonder even though the solution to the confusion is pretty easy. Just watch that big ornery sumb—- play basketball. I don’t understand how that guy does those things either. But he does. And that ends the discussion,” he concluded.
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Jones’s comments about white people comes just a few days after ESPN Studio host Molly Qerim apologized on air for Kendrick’s comments that implied thr majority of NBA voters were white which started the entire argument.
“I want to correct something here from yesterday’s show,” Qerim started off. “When Kendrick Perkins said 80 percent of NBA voters for the MVP award are white, the NBA publicly announces the voters each year, and after review, it is clear the panel is much more diverse than what was portrayed by Kendrick Perkins and we wanted to make sure that we corrected that today.”
"The NBA publicly announces the voters each year and after review, it's clear the panel is much more diverse than what was portrayed by Kendrick Perkins and we wanted to make sure that we corrected that today."
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 8, 2023
As of this writing, Nikola Jokic is averaging 24.7 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists a game for his team who is currently #1 in the Western conference.
What are your thoughts towards the anger about Jokic possibly winning three straight MVPs?
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