Former NBA star Charles Barkley has now weighed in on the controversy regarding the voting process to award the league's MVP. Fellow former player Kendrick Perkins, who appears frequently as a guest analyst on ESPN, recently claimed that MVP voters, who are mostly sports writers and broadcasters, prefer white players.
On ESPN's "First Take" earlier this week, Perkins noted to hosts Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim and former player JJ Redick that the vast majority of MVP voters are white. Perkins then implied that their white skin color affects their voting habits.
"[W]hen it comes to MVP voting, 80 percent of the voters are white American," Perkins stated. "Twenty percent are others. I know that stat."
Redick took issue with Perkins' insinuation that the white voters were therefore racist. "[W]hat we’ve just witnessed is the problem with this show," Redick began, "where we create narratives that do not exist in reality." Redick went on to claim that Perkins was "implying that the white voters that vote on NBA are racist, that they favor white people," a claim which Perkins initially denied but then said were simply "the facts."
Charles Barkley, who won the NBA MVP award in 1993, shared his thoughts about the topic during a phone appearance on Denver's 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio with Vic Lombardi, Marc Moser, and Brett Kane. Never one to mince words, Barkley took Perkins to task, calling his comments "[a]sinine, silly, stupid. Pick one of the words, whatever one you want."
Barkley added, "[W]hen 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."
Barkley then accused Perkins of suffering from what he called "ESPN disease," which Barkley argued encourages some analysts to make outlandish claims in order to appear "provocative." Barkley said he was glad Redick pushed back against Perkins' comments.
The Round Mound of Rebound then explained that the MVP award is given to the player with the best regular season, not the best overall player in the league. Nikola Jokic, 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 (Jokic) in this situation is just total B.S.," Barkley insisted. Jokic also won the award the past two seasons.
Charles Barkley on Kendrick Perkins, JJ Redick and the MVP Race: 92.5 FM - Denver's Altitude Sportsyoutu.be
There is some indication that Perkins might actually agree with Barkley. After his heated exchange with Redick, Perkins stated that he "appreciated" Redick for his "real talk."
"I appreciate you, brother," Perkins said to Redick. "I'm good, long as you good."
Redick then replied, "We're always good."
Qerim then closed the segment by stating that she wished the four of them could all gather in person for a group hug.
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