Kendrick Perkins and JJ Redick continue to go back-and-forth on ESPN’s First Take over Nikola Jokić and the NBA MVP debate. Unfortunately, they haven’t done it while being on the show at the same time, which seems like a major scheduling fail by ESPN. But that hasn’t stopped it from being a fiery debate.
Redick’s takes have pitted him against Stephen A. Smith and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on First Take. They’ve drawn the ire of Bob Cousy and Dominique Wilkins. And now they have him exchanging barbs with Perkins.
Jokić has drawn some criticism by NBA talking heads in recent weeks. The Denver Nuggets star is making a case to win his third straight league MVP, despite failing to make a deep playoff run. Last week on First Take, Perkins accused Jokić of stat-padding to better his chances of averaging a triple-double on the season. This week, on Perkins’ day off, Redick joined First Take and accused him of making up narratives while bashing the “ludicrous” stat-padding claim.
Perkins later took time from his day off to post a rebuttal video on social media, asking Redick to at least wait until they’re on TV together before calling him out.
“If you wanna slap box, at least allow me to be on TV to be there to fight back,” Perkins said. “No one is knocking what Jokić is doing as far as him having an unbelievable season…But don’t you act like you wasn’t in those locker rooms or didn’t play with those players that were a point, two rebounds or assists away from having a triple-double, a double-double, hitting 50. It goes on all the time.”
“But I’ll tell you this much,” Perkins added in his video, “I’m gonna see you tomorrow with your little Elvis Presley-lookin’ ass, and boy I’m coming right at you. Carry on.”
Any NBA fan tuning into First Take Wednesday morning expecting a good old brouhaha between Perkins and Redick was left disappointed, as this time it was the Elvis Presley-lookin’ NBA analyst who wasn’t on the show. But that didn’t stop Perkins from firing back at Redick for accusing him of making up fake narratives about Jokić stat-padding.
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 1, 2023
“When it comes down to stat-padding all across the league, JJ of all people should know that this goes on in the locker room,” Perkins ranted. “That’s why guys don’t shoot half-court shots at the end of quarters because they don’t wanna mess up their three-point percentage.”
Perkins then braced for his next opinion, questioning whether it was even appropriate for First Take. But Perkins decided to roll with it anyway and began to accuse the NBA of a racial bias when it comes to MVP voting, asking Redick why he hasn’t reached the same inference.
“Let me get us outside of our comfort zone a little bit when we talk about the MVP conversation. Is it Oochie Wally? Or is it One Mic,” Perkins said, citing a phrase used to call out double standards. “When I look at JJ and I heard him talk, because…he’s a historian when it comes down to diving in deep and going into history…why didn’t he ever bring up this particular subject?”
Perkins proceeded to inform the audience that since 1990, there were only three NBA MVP award winners who finished outside the top-10 in scoring. Those three players are Jokić, Dirk Nowitzki, and Steve Nash.
“What do those guys have in common?” Perkins asked. “I’ll let it sit there and marinate. You think about it…When it comes down to moving the goal posts for certain individuals to win it, again, is it Oochie Wally? Or is it One Mic? What song are we actually dancing to right now, why is this subject not brought up?”
Following the segment, Perkins posted a video on social media, repeating what he said on First Take almost word for word, and tagged Redick in the tweet. After Redick responded by asking the former NBA center to text him, Perkins deleted the tweet and shared his segment from First Take instead.
Perk just text me bro I don’t have time to watch these videos https://t.co/TZogHN7jCA
— JJ Redick (@jj_redick) March 1, 2023
It’s one thing for hosts of competing networks or shows to go back-and-forth without ever actually arguing face-to-face, but Perkins and Redick both work on the same show. It’s a shame that ESPN wasn’t able to get them in a room together for this debate. And by the time they do, this story probably will be exhausted. Although that’s often what happens after football ends and sports talk desperately attempts to survive the dog days of the NBA season, topics get exhausted and Mount Rushmore segments are rehashed.