Kendrick Perkins fires back at JJ Redick on First Take

As the regular season NBA MVP finally comes to an end, Bomani Jones believes ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins deserves some credit for changing the discussion.

Usually a lighthearted debate, the NBA MVP debate became contentious this season after Perkins accused voters of holding a racial bias against the league’s Black players. At the time, Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić, who is white, appeared destined to win his third-straight MVP award. But in the weeks since, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has emerged as the betting favorite.

On the latest episode of The Right Time, Bomani Jones discussed the MVP shift and credited Perkins for moving the needle.

“I want to send a brief shout out to my man Perk, to quote a formerly great, now disgraced philosopher, ‘No one man should have all that power,’” Jones said, quoting Kanye West. “You say whatever you want, Perk completely shifted a national discussion.

“Now, I’d also like to say thank you to Joel Embiid because you played in such a way that made this not awkward. Because at that point, I didn’t think there was anything that anybody could do this season that would involve Jokic not winning the MVP and Embiid was like, ‘Watch this.’ And he decided to go be the MVP.”

Perkins sparked a tense debate when he accused NBA MVP voters of having racial bias and garnered a heated response from his ESPN colleague JJ Redick. It’s hard to gauge whether the racial aspect of the discussion had an impact on the MVP debate. But in the ensuing weeks, the fact that the favorite to win the award flipped from Jokić to Embiid is inarguable.

Recently, there has been the narrative that Jokić lost interest in the award. But that’s not backed by stats, which saw the Nuggets star average more than 26 points, nearly 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the month of March. Still, Embiid established himself as the more dominant force in recent weeks.

“I think Embiid’s gonna wind up getting it and honestly, at this point, I hope he does,” Jones continued. “Because if he doesn’t, it’s gonna get unnecessarily dicey out here in these streets.”

Jones’ Friday co-host on The Right Time, Dominique Foxworth, added that Perkins deserves to take a victory lap on ESPN after Embiid wins the MVP.

“You know who feels just as right?” Jones asked. “JJ (Redick). You can’t say the writers have racial bias now if they vote for Embiid, now can you?”

The polarizing MVP debate on First Take that many people criticized, and that Dan Le Batard blasted as “insulting” after it turned into a racial discussion, might end up being a win for both analysts involved.

[The Right Time]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to