ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins recently created a firestorm by accusing NBA MVP voters of holding a racial bias, allegations that Charles Barkley found ridiculous.
As Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić, who is white, closes in on winning his third straight NBA MVP award, Perkins accused voters of being racially biased against the league’s Black players. The take prompted a heated back-and-forth between Perkins and his ESPN colleague JJ Redick, culminating in Redick blasting First Take for allowing false narratives to be pushed.
Barkley later joined Denver radio hosts Vic Lombardi, Marc Moser and Brett Kane on Altitude Sports and accused Perkins of suffering from “ESPN disease,” claiming the NBA player turned First Take panelist feels pressure to say something provocative for clicks.
Late Thursday night on Inside the NBA, Barkley reiterated his disdain for Perkins’ hot take after Shaquille O’Neal casually said his pick for MVP this season is Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Charles Barkley “comes off the top rope” to throw shade at Kendrick Perkins pic.twitter.com/WeHpad9G1G
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 10, 2023
“You’re only voting for him because he’s Black,” Barkley said without hesitation.
Barkley didn’t mention Perkins by name, but he didn’t have to. As the Inside the NBA crew lost it with laughter, host Ernie Johnson said, “Some situations are beyond saving, can’t always save it when the Chuckster comes off the top rope as he just did.”
“I saw it on the internet, it’s gotta be true,” Barkley added with a laugh. “Anything you see on the internet, it’s true, America.”
Perkins attempted to support his claim by citing the fact that since 1990, there have only been three NBA MVP award winners who finished outside the top-10 in scoring, and those three players were all white. During his tense exchange with Redick on First Take earlier this week, Perkins repeatedly yelled, “It’s the facts!”
But the next day, First Take was forced to issue a correction because Perkins misrepresented “the facts” by falsely stating “80 percent” of NBA MVP voters are white. NBA MVP voters and the league couldn’t have been pleased with Perkins’ accusations and First Take ultimately clarified that the voting panel is “much more diverse than what was portrayed.”