Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić is considered by many to be a shoo-in for snagging his third consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player award, a potential outcome that lead one ESPN analyst to conclude the predominantly black league might be racial hypocrites.
With less than 20 games remaining in their regular season, the Nuggets are leading the Western Conference by seven wins over the Memphis Grizzlies in no small part thanks to Jokić having his 100th career triple-double. On top of that, the Serbian-born center is averaging a triple-double on the season.
Not only has former player and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins found fault in that fact, accusing Jokić of stat-padding, but Wednesday on “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith, he accused the league of moving goalposts to benefit the promotion of white players.
“When it comes down to guys winning MVPs since 1990, it’s only three guys that won the MVP that wasn’t top-10 in scoring. Do you know who those three guys were? Steve Nash, Jokic and Dirk Nowitzki. Now, what do those guys have in common? I’ll let it sit there and marinate. You think about it,” Perkins said.
In case it wasn’t obvious the point Perkins was making, with Nash’s two MVP’s, Nowitzki’s one, and the two already claimed by Jokić, that means in the past 30+ years of the league, a white player has claimed the honor five times. Of course, you’d have to go all the way back to 1986 to name the last white player to get the award when Larry Bird took home his third consecutive MVP, making him the third player to do so after Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.
“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?”
– Kendrick Perkins pic.twitter.com/NuE5yNKjry
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 1, 2023
However, to do so would have required Perkins to include Magic Johnson’s 1989-1990 season MVP when he finished 18th in scoring.
Of course, that wasn’t the only point where the analyst put his race-fueled rhetoric ahead of any consistent argument while he contended, “When it comes down to moving the goalpost 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?”
The reference made spoke to lyrics from Jay-Z’s “Blueprint 2” against perceived hypocrisies from his contemporary rival Nas. But Perkins was hypocritical throughout his screed as he named Chris Paul as his preferred MVP over Jokić in 2021 despite his repeated complaint against the Serbian not leading in scoring. That season, Paul finished 50th in that category.
While Perkins took backlash for his inane take, BlazeTV host Jason Whitlock offered up a hot take of his own sure to aggravate the analyst as he called him, and players like him “the first ‘openly MAGA’ basketball players.”
As Whitlock saw it, because the NBA was open to pulling in players from around the world, it would only be a matter of time before others like Jokić squeezed out black American players from the league.
That point also included drawing attention to the fact that should Jokić maintain his season average triple-double, he would be only the third player to do so after Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook.
It’s embarrassing that you keep this man on air.
— All Things Mavs (@All_Things_Mavs) March 1, 2023
He cherrypicked the year to start because Magic being black ruined his race bait.https://t.co/bJBcce4aSD
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) March 4, 2023
What a racist rant! Kendrick can you not see that he is a great player having a great year a MVP year! So now we know who ever wins will be Black! Since you just basically called out the woke mob! you should be fired….
— BISHOP GARCIYALTER (@dedhead58) March 4, 2023
This is one of the most embarrassing sports-talk rants I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot. Would be a lot easier for Perk just say he has this one wrong. You can think Embiid is the MVP (I actually also do) and not say that Jokic is “stat-padding” (he isn’t and it was laughable)
— SMHHHH (@guessthingscan) March 1, 2023
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