All hell broke loose on ESPN’s First Take Tuesday morning after JJ Redick and Kendrick Perkins had a heated back and forth over the MVP race. After Redick called out Perkins for implying that there is racial bias in NBA MVP voting, the pair had a contentious exchange on the show.
In the end, things were resolved amicably between the two NBA analysts on Tuesday’s episode of First Take. It was their first face-to-face meeting since last week’s episode of the ESPN podcast where Perkins took issue with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. Jokic is attempting to become the first player in history to win the MVP three consecutive times.
The former Dallas Mavericks forward has argued that Jokic’s stat-padding tactics have helped him win the MVP three years in a row. Also that he is the favorite to do so again this year. He also noted that only three players, including Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, had won the MVP without finishing in the top 10 since 1990.
While the discussion on First Take was a bit tense, Redick remained calm. He said that he was not defending Perkins or Smith for their statements. However, its an important topic and one that is being discussed across the league. He said it was “sad to see” Perkins “make such an accusation, especially with how this game is going in the NBA right now.”
Redick continued to say that Jokic’s numbers are averaging on par with his previous two MVP campaigns and Denver is on track to match their win totals from last season. He also pointed out that the Serbian big man has won eight of his past nine games and is currently on pace to average a triple-double for the entire season, which should help him make a case for a third straight MVP award.
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Earlier this month, Perkins drew a lot of criticism from fans after he claimed that white NBA reporters are biased toward white players regarding MVP voting. He pointed out that only three players have won the MVP without winning the top 10 in scoring, and only two were white: Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash.
In addition to Redick, several other former NBA players and analysts have appeared on the show in recent years. Former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, former New Jersey Nets and Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Jay Williams, and former Pittsburgh Steelers safety (LSU alum) Vince Carter have all been regular guests on the show.
Other notable sports personalities to have appeared on the show include Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and Molly Qerim.