ESPN’s First Take witnessed a fiery clash between JJ Redick and Kendrick Perkins over the NBA MVP race. Redick called out Perkins for suggesting racial bias in the MVP voting, leading to a tense exchange on the show.
Fortunately, on Tuesday’s episode of First Take, the two analysts resolved their differences amicably. This meeting was their first face-to-face since last week’s ESPN podcast, where Perkins criticized Nikola Jokic, the Denver Nuggets center, who aims to win a historic third consecutive MVP title.
Perkins argued that Jokic’s stat-padding tactics have contributed to his three-year MVP streak. In historical records, since 1990, just three players, among them Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, secured the MVP without ranking in the top 10 in scoring.
During the discussion, Redick maintained his composure and clarified that he wasn’t defending Perkins’ or Smith’s statements. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the topic is significant and being widely debated in the NBA community. Redick expressed concern about Perkins’ accusations, especially given the current state of the NBA.
Redick highlighted Jokic’s impressive stats, comparable to his previous MVP campaigns, and Denver’s strong performance this season. He emphasized that Jokic’s recent winning streak and potential triple-double average for the entire season make a compelling case for a third MVP title.
Previously, Perkins faced backlash for suggesting bias among white NBA reporters in MVP voting. Only Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash won MVP without top 10 scoring.
First Take has welcomed other notable sports personalities, including Tim Tebow, Jay Williams, and Vince Carter, along with regular guests Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and Molly Qerim.