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Charles Barkley says Kendrick Perkins has ‘ESPN disease’

Charles Barkley on the sideline

May 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former NBA player and current TNT television personality Charles Barkley prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Kendrick Perkins has drawn a lot of criticism from fans and even his own co-workers for implying that Nikola Jokic is favored to win his third consecutive NBA MVP award because he is white. Charles Barkley says Perkins is simply trying drum up controversy the way so many ESPN analysts have before him.

During a Tuesday appearance on 92.5 FM Altitude Sports Radio in Denver, Barkley said Perkins is suffering from “ESPN disease.” He said ESPN has had the same MVP debate every year even dating back to his playing days.

“I always talk about ESPN disease. A lot of these guys, when they get on TV and stuff, they’re like, ‘Well I’m on ESPN, I got to say something provocative,’” Barkley said, as transcribed by Brandon Contes of Awful Announcing. “And you know the thing about it, you’re always gonna get some fools out there, you guys probably get some fools calling in agreeing with him!

“I can promise you this, I’ve never said anything on television just to get clicks, that don’t mean I’ve been right or wrong, whatever. I’ve never said something like, ‘Well I know people are going to react and go crazy, let me say this.’ And this is what bothers me also, man race is such a touchy subject because very few people have a pure heart. We can talk about race as much as you want to as long as you’re going to be fair and honest. But to slander (Jokic) in this situation is just total BS.”

Barkley then pointed out that there have been very few white MVP Award winners in the last 30 years. Larry Bird won three consecutive MVP awards from 1984-1986. In the 36 years since, the award has been given to a white player five times.

Perkins believes Joel Embiid should be the NBA MVP favorite at the moment. Though Embiid (33.2) is averaging more points per game than Jokic (24.4), Jokic is averaging a triple-double and has his Nuggets with the best record in the West.

Fellow ESPN analyst JJ Redick unloaded on Perkins for bringing race into the MVP debate, but Perkins has yet to back off of his take.


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