If Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic wins yet another NBA Most Valuable Player award this year, it's not because of his consistent playmaking ability, it's because he's white – at least according to one ESPN analyst.
Jokic, who has already won the MVP award the last two seasons, could join the likes of other NBA legends including Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird if he wins his third straight MVP award this year.
Jokic is the clear favorite to win the MVP award; averaging a triple-double (24.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 10.0 assists) for the first-place Denver Nuggets.
While this stat line would put any NBA player in the MVP conversation, one ESPN analyst thinks there is more than just Jokic's playing ability at play.
During last Wednesday's edition of the popular ESPN show ‘First Take,‘ analyst and former NBA player Kendrick Perkins stated, “When it comes down to guys winning MVP since 1990, there are only three guys that won the MVP that wasn't top 10 in scoring . . . Steve Nash, [Nikola] Jokic, and Dirk Nowitzki. Now, what do those guys have in common? I'll let that sit there and marinate. You think on it.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 1, 2023
To further elaborate his point, Perkins would explain how in 2006, when the aforementioned Steve Nash won his second MVP award, Kobe Bryant was the highest scorer in the league and did not win MVP. He would use the analogy to further claim that the NBA was “Moving the goalposts for certain individuals.”
Perkins would then, in an attempt to showcase the supposed double standard, use one of rap artist Jay-Z's more famous lyrics, “Is it ‘Oochie Wally' or is it ‘One Mic?'” This lyric was used by Jay-Z to claim that rival artist Nas' songs were conveying two different messages. The song “Oochie Wally” contained many misogynistic lyrics and “One Mic” contained more socially conscience lyrics. Now, the lyrics are a common phrase used to call out hypocrisy and double standards.
Perkins would double-down on his statements in a follow-up tweet addressed to fellow ESPN analyst J.J. Reddick, asking, “What's the criteria when moving the goalposts for certain players to win the MVP? I need to know.”
Kendrick Perkins uploaded a video on his twitter, doubling down on his take that Jokic, Nash and Dirk only won MVP because they are white before deleting the tweet pic.twitter.com/nZiKcspXQ1
— hoops bot (@hoops_bot) March 1, 2023
Perkins would then subsequently delete the original tweet from his account.
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