Perk, Kyrie, KD Beef

Kendrick is continuing to thrive in his new position at the hot take factory.

Jim Rome
June 18, 2020 - 9:22 am
Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Durant

USA Today

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Somehow, the Kyrie Irving drama has jumped yet another day. And it’s widening. It’s no longer just about Kyrie shifting from asking about saunas and drinks, allegedly, to suddenly talking about not restarting the season and somewhere along the lines starting a new league. 

Because Kendrick Perkins entered the arena and the big fella is not having it with Kyrie. You can put Perk firmly in the camp that believes Kyrie is being disingenuous when it comes to being a force for positive, social change. Earlier in the week, Perkins told ESPN Radio:

“This was the same guy about 10 days ago that came out and said that he wanted to join the team and be in Orlando around his team. The agreement was that inactive players couldn’t go because there was only a certain amount of people in the bubble. What changed over the last 9-10 days? What changed was, from what I strongly believe and what I heard, is the NBA and the Players Association told Kyrie that, ‘No, you can’t go.’ How can a guy’s mindset change in 10 days? George Floyd was murdered on the 25th of May. They started protesting the next day, they started rioting the next two days. Kyrie’s mindset just 10 days ago was that he wanted to go to Orlando. What changed since then? What changed was they told him he couldn’t go.”

And Perk hasn’t let up. “If you take Kyrie Irving’s brain and put it in a bird right now, guess what that bird is going to do, It’s going to fly backwards because Kyrie right now is confused, he’s showing his lack of leadership. Here it is: Kyrie, you have been on these conference calls over the last two months. You’re the vice president of the Players Association. You have been very involved in all this that’s taking place as far as whether we’re going to play or not. You’ve been on the phone and you voted to play!”

Perk also made time to call LeBron James the “most athletic player in NBA history” only for Bill Russell to come from the rafters and dunk on him by reminding perk that Russell wasn’t just an NBA legend, he also could’ve made the US Olympic team as a high jumper.

But Perk  kept on rolling, and went back to go after Kyrie on Twitter: Excuse my last tweet...but I really took it light on Kyrie today because I really could Expose the “Cupcake” BS that he’s really doing behind those phone conversations!!! Carry on...

I’m not exactly sure what Perkins is getting at there, but this has spilled over from a former player turned media member talking about labor negotiations into something that is really personal.

And now another challenger is sprinting to the ring – Kevin Durant. KD retweeted a tweet clowning Perkins, complete with Perkins firing an air-ball as a member of Thunder. And Durant went on Instagram and called Perkins a “sell out.”

Of course the weird relationship between Durant and Perkins is nothing new. That is a dynamic that is truly strange to figure out – former teammates turned Twitter enemies.

So…This has gotten pretty personal and pretty ugly, and right now, I don’t see any signs of it stopping. I doubt Perkins is going to ease up, and you know Kyrie isn’t going to stop being Kyrie any time soon.

And I want to be clear about this: there is a really important discussion to be had here about the moment this country is currently in and the opportunity for real, lasting change. And what role NBA players can have in that change. And there’s a serious debate to be had about whether that role is better with games being played or if playing games distracts from the moment.

So there is something to what Kyrie and others are saying, but the fact that Kyrie is involved and doing Kyrie things, muddies the waters. It feels like the debate has shifted from the issues that the players who have questions about restarting wanted to discuss and instead, it’s all focused on Kyrie and Kyrie being weird.

Because Kyrie is weird. And because that’s what always happens when Kyrie is involved in something.

And there is another tricky part of this – Kyrie isn’t just some guy in the league throwing out ideas and takes on when and how the league returns. He’s a vice president in the Players Association. And when you are a leader in the players association, there is an expectation that you will be a leader and that disagreements that you have with the PA will be kept in house. Not taken public in such a broad way.

It’s not that he has to completely agree with everything the players association does, but when you’re a vice president of the players association, if you’re a member of the executive committee, you don’t freelance. You don’t vote with the association on a phone call and then come out a few days later with a totally new plan.

Again, this isn’t just some famous member of the rank and file doing it, it’s a vice president in the players association. And it’s causing chaos. Then again, when you’re a flat earth truther, any argument you make, no matter how valid is going to be mocked.   Because you think the earth is flat. 

People can bring new ideas to the table, but if you’re a member of the executive committee, you can’t flip over the table. And you certainly shouldn’t be doing that if you’re just bent that you won’t be invited to Orlando.

Then again, I’m not sure anyone can really be surprised – it’s Kyrie’s brand. He causes chaos. His strengths are ball handling and crazy making. Kyrie is absolutely on brand. In fact, all three are: Kyrie’s acting weird. Durant’s thin-skinned and jumping into the fray on social; because of course he is, he can’t help himself. And Perk is continuing to thrive in his new position at the hot take factory.