Former NBA star Charles Barkley has spoken out about outrageous comments made by a fellow former NBA player, Kendrick Perkins, who suggested that White players have an advantage in the voting process to become the league’s MVP.
Perkins, who is a frequent guest analyst on ESPN, recently argued that MVP voters — who are mostly sports writers and broadcasters — prefer to pick white players for the award.
The former NBA star made the comments on ESPN’s “First Take” earlier this week, alongside hosts Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim and former player JJ Redick.
Perkins began by pointing out that a significant majority of MVP voters are White, and went on to imply that their skin color affects their voting habits.
“When it comes to MVP voting, 80 percent of the voters are white American,” he said. “Twenty percent are others. I know that stat.”
Redick clapped back at Perkins, taking issue with his insinuation that White voters were racist.
“What we’ve just witnessed is the problem with this show, where we create narratives that do not exist in reality,” he said, arguing that Perkins was “implying that the white voters that vote on NBA are racist, that they favor White people.”
Perkins initially denied that he was implying racism, but ultimately admitted it — claiming that he was simply stating “the facts.”
JJ Redick condemns First Take and pushes back on Kendrick Perkins alleging NBA MVP voters have a racial bias against Black players: pic.twitter.com/7pOMmGW4AH
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 7, 2023
Barkley, who won the NBA’s MVP award in 1993, responded to Perkins’ comments during a discussion on Denver’s 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio with Vic Lombardi, Marc Moser and Brett Kane.
The former NBA star called Perkins’ assertion “asinine, silly, stupid. Pick one of the words, whatever one you want.”
“When I heard this for the first time last week, I said this has to be one of the most stupid things I’ve ever heard,” he added.
Barkley accused Perkins of being afflicted with what he called “ESPN disease,” explaining that this “disease” encourages some ESPN analysts to make outlandish claims in an effort to appear “provocative.” He also said that he was happy that Redick had pushed back on the comments.
He then explained that the MVP award was given to the NBA player who had the best regular season, not the best overall player in the league.
Barkley went on to cite the next man likely to receive the MVP award, Nikola Jokic. According to The Blaze, Jokic is “the Serbian phenom largely expected to win the league MVP award again this year, currently averages a triple-double, and his team, the Denver Nuggets, sit comfortably atop the Western Conference.”
“To slander this man in this situation is just total B.S.,” Barkley said, referring to Jokic — who also won the MVP award the past two seasons.
Meanwhile — later in the ESPN show following a heated exchange between Perkins and Redick — Perkins appeared to have a change of heart, admitting that he “appreciated” Redick for his “real talk.”
“I appreciate you, brother,” Perkins told Redick. “I’m good, as long as you good.”
“We’re always good,” Redick responded.
Qerim then concluded the segment by saying she wished that everyone on the show could gather in person for a group hug.