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'We are to blame': Kendrick Perkins says national media needs to promote Jokic

"We shouldn’t have to be waiting to the NBA Finals to be able to appreciate Jokic," Perkins said.

DENVER — As the Denver Nuggets prepare for Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, one of the team's biggest critics said the national media need to do more to promote Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins appeared on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Monday where he praised the skill of Jokic, a two-time NBA MVP. 

McAfee asked Perkins why Jokic has rarely appeared on national television with the Nuggets.

"Why did I, as a basketball casual, not be forced to watch the Joker play basketball?" McAfee questioned Perkins. "I'm watching him through this playoff series, he is must-watch television. And last night for three quarters, I'm thinking to myself 'I need this Joker guy every night,' and then Miami does what Miami do in the fourth quarter and come back and win that thing. But this Joker guy, why isn't he on TV every single night, and should he be?"

"Absolutely, he should be," Perkins said. "He is one, the best player in the league. He is the most skilled center to ever touch the damn basketball, let me say that, OK? Every time he shoots, I think it's going in. I don't care the level of difficulty, 47% from the three-point line.

"But we are to blame. And that’s us as the media, us at the network, ESPN, because we should to a better job of promoting and marketing him, and he should be on television."

"We shouldn’t have to be waiting to the NBA Finals to be able to appreciate Jokic," Perkins said. "We got to do a better job, including myself, of actually marketing him. Less talk about the Lakers and LeBron James and Jason Tatum, and more talk about Jokic. Period."

Last week, Perkins predicted the Nuggets would win the best-of-seven series for their first championship in franchise history.

"I have Denver beating the Miami Heat. They are really, really good," Perkins said on ESPN. "Jokic is the best player in the league, I will say that right now. But I will not disrespect the Heat and say they will get swept or will end in five."

"I believe this series will go six or seven. I believe Erik Spoelstra will put a game plan together and again, the Heat have made it this far for a reason. They beat the Milwaukee Bucks, and they just knocked off the Boston Celtics, two of the teams that had the best rosters in the league and the best records in the league," Perkins continued. "So I won't disrespect them to that point, but [ESPN's Timothy Legler] is right. The Nuggets should be the favorit,e and I'm predicting them to bring home a championship this season."

Credit: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic goes to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans center Kendrick Perkins in New Orleans, March 31, 2016.

After defeating the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the NBA playoffs last month, Jokic was able to impress Perkins, his biggest critic in the national media.

"I’ve been in denial about Jokic and the Nuggets … but I MUST say that they are LEGIT. Carry the hell on…" Perkins tweeted after the Nuggets blew out the Suns to win the series.

In March, Perkins accused Jokic of padding his stats to reach a triple-double. Perkins' comments led to a national sports conversation about stat padding.

Perkins also alleged in March that NBA MVP voters have a racial bias against Black players, leading to another national conversation involving Jokic.

Jokic finished second in MVP voting this season, but one voter left Jokic completely off ballot. That voter was revealed earlier this month to be ESPN analyst Mark Jackson.

During an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Jackson apologized and said leaving Jokic off of his ballot was a mistake.

"I'm not a guy that does it for clicks to be trending," Jackson said. "Absolute mistake made by me."

The best-of-seven NBA Finals continues Wednesday when the Heat host Game 3 in Miami.


Credit: 9NEWS


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