Nikola Jokic is widely considered to be one of the best — and most well-rounded — basketball players on planet Earth right now.
ESPN NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins, however, doesn’t seem all that impressed, as he suggested on First Take that Jokic (and Hall of Famers Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, for that matter) only won their MVP awards because they’re white.
“When it comes down to guys winning MVP since 1990, it’s only three guys that won the MVP that wasn’t top 10 in scoring… Steve Nash, Jokic, and Dirk Nowitzki. What do those guys have in common?” Perkins asked Stephen A. Smith.
The specific quote above happens around the 2:20 mark if you want to hear Perkins say it for himself. This season, by the way, Jokic is averaging a triple-double, as he’s scoring 24.6 points to go along with 11.7 rebounds and 10 assists per game.
.@KendrickPerkins gives his rebuttal to the backlash from @jj_redick for his Nikola Jokić comments 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/20R4K79SQP
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 1, 2023
It goes without saying that the backlash to Perkins’ comments has been emphatic, as Nowitzki and Nash are not only Hall of Famers who wholly deserved their MVP awards, but Jokic is currently doing things that have rarely been seen on a basketball court.
In the hours since Perkins uncorked this unholy hot take, he’s been getting absolutely cooked on Twitter:
did Kendrick Perkins insinuate that Dirk only won an MVP because he’s white?
we know you don’t care but you’re the “worldwide leader in sports” surely you can bring better on-air talent than Kendrick fucking Perkins
— Slightly Biased (@BiasedSlightly) March 1, 2023
I’m just here to defend Dirk.@KendrickPerkins won’t tell you that Dirk was actually tied for 10th with TMac his MVP year.
He also won’t tell you that 3 players ahead of Dirk didn’t even play 60 games that year compared to Dirk’s 78.
Oh and the Mavs had 67 wins. https://t.co/wdMENGfRcl
— Ry (@RyMichail) March 1, 2023
I can’t get over how much Kendrick Perkins embarrassed himself with such resolve. Voices of hate need to be extinguished.
— D-Line Co. (@DLineCo) March 2, 2023
It’s also been pointed out that his decision to begin his stat with the year 1990 is interesting, as Why did you start in 1990? Is it because it’s right after Magic Johnson won back-to-back MVPs without being top 10 in scoring?
I will say Kendrick Perkins is the MVP when it comes to Shaqtin’ A Fool highlights. His always make me laugh the hardest. pic.twitter.com/QdgLA172tF
— Jokic’s Burner (@Jokicofficiall) March 1, 2023
Kendrick Perkins' "Research" pic.twitter.com/0iXnOKkufA
— Nikola Jokić MVP Horseman🃏🐎 (@BroncoNuggs) March 1, 2023
I have no idea if you guys know this or not but Nikola Jokic is white. Thank you Kendrick Perkins for bringing awareness to this. Many of us in Denver can't watch the games so this actually was a shock to me and I'm certain many others as well. Salute
— Kevin (No not that one) (@_Kevlar23_) March 1, 2023
Nevertheless, despite the accusations of stat-padding and ignorant comments from Perkins, Jokic is not only likely on his way to winning his third-straight NBA MVP award, but the Denver Nuggets — currently the #1 seed in the Western Conference — are looking like a legitimate threat to make the NBA Finals this season.
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