By now you’ve heard or read about Kendrick Perkins slamming LeBron James for his tweet gushing over Blake Griffin’s poster a couple weeks ago. Here’s what Perk said to Yahoo! Sports:
“You don’t see Kobe [Bryant] tweeting,” Perkins said. “You don’t see Michael Jordan tweeting. If you’re an elite player, plays like that don’t excite you. At the end of the day, the guys who are playing for the right reasons who are trying to win championships are not worrying about one play.
“They also are not tweeting about themselves talking about going down to No. 2. I just feel [James] is always looking for attention and he wants the world to like him.”
I’d say the reason you don’t see Kobe or M.J. tweeting is because neither are on Twitter. Just a theory. But I understand Perk’s point. LeBron does appear to be very into LeBron — remember, “The Decision” — and the way he worded that tweet is a bit odd. A lot of other players tweeted like Chris Paul, Kevin Love and Magic Johnson, but they didn’t pat themselves on the back in theirs. LeBron singled out his own great play, which is something you don’t see all that often. It was a humblebrag in its purest form. LeBron was giving props to Griffin while drawing attention to his own achievement all the same.
What Perk said about LeBron wanting the world to like him is true too. LeBron admitted as such before the season that he didn’t like being a bad guy and wanted to get back to being fun loving. LeBron’s past actions would definitely indicate he’s a guy that likes the spotlight and likes to have people talking about him.
But Perk’s “if you’re an elite player, plays like that don’t excite you” thing definitely fits right in with KD’s “I don’t care about that dunk” reaction. The Thunder saw it as three points for the Clippers and that’s it. Maybe it destroyed Twitter and maybe it ran on a loop on ESPN for three days, but in the end, it was just an and-1.
Perk’s sour grapes a little petty, no doubt. But that’s who he is. Like two days after the Thunder acquired him, he was calling Pau Gasol soft and Phil Jackson arrogant. He speaks his mind and he doesn’t care what you happen to think. To him, all he cares about is the opinion his teammates have of him.
What I honestly liked a whole lot more from Perk was his response to the so-called embarrassment of getting put on a poster by Griffin.
“If I was in the same position, in the same rotation, I’m going to jump again and again and again,” Perkins said. “I don’t care. A lot of people are afraid of humiliation or don’t know how to handle embarrassment or would even get embarrassed. I don’t care.
“I’m the same Perk you’re going to see. I’m still going to sign autographs the same way. I ain’t going to change. The people that move out the way and stuff are the people who have insecurity problems.
“That’s my job. How will my teammates look at me if next time I just back out the way and just let him dunk when I’m supposed to be defensive-minded, a shot-blocker? That would be a coward move on me. He’d just have to dunk on me again.”
That’s Perk. That’s why his teammates love him. That’s why when you heard things like “He changed the mindset of the Thunder and made them tougher.” He’s a great post defender but he’s an intangibles guy. He gives OKC a swagger, a grit, a toughness, a mindset that they didn’t have before his arrival.
Of note: The Thunder play the Heat March 25. LeBron will probably try and Mosgov Perk at some point and you can be sure Perk isn’t going to go down without a strong challenge. If that game wasn’t already going to be fun, it really is now.